Physics in Action

Static Electricity

Materials: None

Time Allotment: 5 Class Days


This makeup lab is unique from most others in that it does not actually involve a laboratory exercise. Rather, this makeup lab involves the conducting of an Internet search and the completion of a writing assignment which demonstrates your understanding of the application of the principles of static electricity.

The Assignment - Internet Search:

In this assignment, you will conduct an Internet search in order to gather and make meaning of the physics of one of the topics listed below. You must have at least three Internet sources with the title of the site and the URL (i.e., the http: adress) for each source. Furthermore, you will have to retrieve at least one graphic image (either printed or downloaded to disk) which meaningfully depicts some physics. (Encyclopedias and CD-ROMs are not counted as an Internet resource.) Guiding questions for each topic are provided; do not feel limited by these questions but definitely give attention to them. Upon making meaning of the topic, you will summarize your findings in the form of a short writing exercise. Directions and guidelines for the writing portion of the assignment are provided below. The chosen topics involve topics for which there is an abundance of available scientific information that is both understandable and interesting for high school students. Elgible topics for your Internet search include the following:

It is suggested that you pick a topic that is of natural interest to you and spend your time enjoying the Internet search (rather than merely getting it over with it). To begin your search, it is recommended that you use an Internet search engine such as Hot Bot, Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, The DogPile etc. (If the links provided here happen to be outdated, then you can always find updated links from the Glenbrook South Instructional Materials Center home page.) Use some strategic search terms in order to gather an index of reasonable sites which pertain to your topic. As you conduct your search, devote your time to looking for scientific information. If you happen to find links to such places as The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Theatre of Electricity, or Bill Beaty's Science Site, be sure to follow the links. These are excellent and understandable sites with a wealth of scientific information on the topics listed above.


The Assignment - Written Summary:

Once you have conducted a suitable search of your topic, write an organized summary of your findings in your own words. The summary whould be word processed and at least two pages long and not more than four pages long. The summary should also include the following features:



Your writing assignment/makeup lab will be assessed using the following scoring rubric.

1. Internet Search

Demonstrated an ability to conduct an extensive Internet search for information relevant to a given topic; was able to make judgements about the scientific validity of the info and to finally incorporate the info into a written summary.

0 - 2

Failed to use or to list three Internet sources or the information which was retrieved does not suitably address the topic.

3 - 4

Used and listed three Internet sources to retrieve and incoporate information into a written summary; search seems limited by the lack of quantity, meaningfulness, or quality of info.


Used and clearly listed three Internet sources to retrieve an abundance of accurate and meaningful information and clearly incoporated the information into the written summary.

2. Phyics Understanding

Demonstrated a clear understanding and application of electrostatic principles by exhaustively explaining the physics of the topic; included and meaningfully described a graphic image acquired from the Internet.

0 - 2

Discussions and explanations are brief and hasty; may have failed to include a graphic image; effectiveness of writing may be hindered by many serious errors; understanding of topic is not fully developed.

3 - 4

Discussions and explanations are superficial; attention not given to specifics of the physics; too vague; written summary may be inaccurate or lack organization and clarity; includes some few detrimental errors


Discussion and explanations involve depth and specifics; included an accurate writing was clear and organized; included a graphic image and a clear discussion of what it depicts; demonstrated a perfect understanding and application of physics

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This page created by Tom Henderson and last updated on 1/30/98.