Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Charge & Electric Field

Lab Summary

Use a charge sensor to observe the nature of charging different objects by contact and to explore the electric field produced by a variety of charged objects.


During this investigation, students observe the nature of charging objects by contact and explore the electric field produced by each charge. Students learn to:

  • Understand the basic properties of electric charges.
  • Distinguish between conductors and insulators.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Producing a positive or negative net static charge by rubbing different materials together.
  • Handling and transferring charge between objects.
  • Measuring the quantity and polarity of charge on an object with a Faraday ice pail and charge sensor.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Charge Sensor


Allows students to measure electrostatic charges with automatic scaling and polarity. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Charge producers

Faraday ice pail

Proof planes

Aluminum rod

Fur cloth

Glass rod

Plastic rod

Silk cloth

The Associated Bundle:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.