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Acting Out Charge Densities

Keywords: Electricity and Magnetism, Symmetry, Charge Density, Kinesthetic, Charge

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Highlights of the activity

  1. This kinesthetic activity is designed to provide upper-division undergraduate students with an embodied understanding of charge density and total charge.
  2. Students, using their bodies to represent charges, move around the room to act out linear, surface and volume charge densities.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on the meaning of constant charge density, the geomentric differences betweeen linear, surface, and volume current densitites, and what is “linear” about linear charge density.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students have far more familiarity with uniform mass densities than with either non-constant distributions or with charge distributions. This activity quickly helps students build conceptual understanding of what linear, surface and volume charge densities are, and what is means to have a uniform and non-uniform densities.

Reflections

Instructor's Guide


Authors: Corinne Manogue & Elizabeth Gire
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