The Name That Charge Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use near the middle to late stages of a learning cycle on charging methods. This Interactive targets student understanding of charging methods and provides an excellent formative and self-assessment of such understandings. Charging by friction, charging by conduction (contact) and charging by induction are all targeted. There is one question on charging by friction, one question on charging by conduction, and five questions on charging by induction. Questions are pulled from a bank of 28 questions - grouped in seven groups of four questions. Both the order of the groups and the order of the questions within the group are randomized. As such, it is improbable that any two students would receive the same questions in the same order. If a student misses one of the questions from within a group, another question from within the group will be selected and delivered to the student. Questions within a group differ slightly but cover the same basic situation. 

This Interactive might be best done within the classroom with students (as opposed to as a homework assignment). Observing students struggle through the activity provides the teacher some valuable feedback regarding where students are at. Students will undoubtedly seek teacher help once their struggles arise. The best help is to present students with a collection of socratic questions. For example, clicking/tapping on the Play button and asking students questions like:
  • What are electrons in Can A doing when the negative balloon is brought near?
  • Oh really? What would cause the electrons to move towards towards the negative balloon?
  • Oh so now you think electrons would move away from the negative balloon? What would cause them to move away?
  • How far away will the electrons move? Will they enter Can B? Why would they enter Can B?
  • What type of charge would this leave Can A and Can B with? 
  • Why would both cans be charged negatively?
  • So you mean that Can A will be negatively charged when electrons leave it and enter Can B? How does that work?
Such questions will help both student and teacher realize the faulty thinking and belief system that they own and allow for conceptual change.

Finally, the Interactive is accompanied by a Help Me! button with information about each question. The Help Me pages begin with a statement of four fundamental concepts and then provide specifics about the charging method involved in the situation.

Our Name That Charge Interactive is now equipped with Task Tracker functionality. Learn More About Task Tracker.

Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Name That Charge Interactive. These include:
  • Reading:
    Lessons 1 and 2 of the Static Electricity Chapter of the Tutorial are a perfect accompaniment to this Interactive. The following pages will be particularly useful in the early stages of a learning cycle on Charge, Charge Interactions, and Charging Methods:

    Charge Interactions


    Charging by Friction

    Charging by Induction

    Charging by Conduction

  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments SE3, SE4, SE5, SE6, and SE7 of the Static Electricity module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Charging by Friction
    Insulators, Conductors and Polarization
    Charging by Conduction and Grounding
    Charging by Induction
Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never supplant) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Four notable lab ideas include ...

    Action-at-a-Distance Lab
    Sticky Tape Experiments Lab
    Pop Can Induction Lab
    Charging by Induction Lab

    Visit The Laboratory.

  • Science Reasoning Activities:
    Science classrooms should be filled with reasoning activities. There are two related activites in the Static Electricity section of the Science Reasoning Center that will challenge students to employ close reading, data analysis, and logical reasoning. The activites are named ...

    Charge Interactions
    Sticky Tape Experiments

    Visit the Science Reasoning Center.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Name That Charge into an instructional unit on electrostatics can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.

Visit: Interactive