Electric Field Series

A suite of mini games designed to refresh knowledge on atoms, and provide instruction in atomic charge and how to measure the electric field. These games also include dynamic simulations of Coulombs Law.

Electron Counter

An interactive refresher on the charge of an atom. Players interactively add or delete electrons from the counting sphere to make the atom’s charge match the target.

Meter Made

Players interactively place pinned charges on the screen to direct the “Mite” ( +1) into the hole. At the harder levels curved trajectories are made. Embedded tutorials help guide the player.

Vector van Gogh

Vectors have both length (magnitude) and direction. Players use the mouse to draw real-time vectors symbolizing a free particle. Immediate feedback is received and changes in the electric field are shown via a dynamic Coulombs law.

Scuff n' Spark

Players rub the mouse back and forth over the “scuff pad” to create friction. As electrons accrue and the charge on the virtual hand increases the conditions for a spark are made. Simulation on how we can get shocked on dry days! Dynamic Coulombs law included.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of these games, players will understand:

  • Coulomb’s Law describes the E-field between the two objects
  • Electrons can be removed from atoms
  • Accumulating electrons affects the qnet of 1 object, and interaction between 2 objects
  • Increasing qnet affects the distance  required between 2 charged objects for a spark to occur
  • Difference between pinned and mobile (free) charges
  • That the E-field results from a net charge
  • How to explore differences in the magnitude of the E-field
  • Vectors have both magnitude and direction
  • Like charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other
  • That the magnitudes of the charges affect the force charges attract/repel each other with
  • That distance affects positive acceleration and negative acceleration

Teacher Guides and Sample Test

Peer-Reviewed Research

Johnson-Glenberg, M. C., & Megowan-Romanowicz, C. (2017). Embodied science and mixed reality: How gesture and motion capture affect physics education. Cognitive Research: Practices and Implications. 2, 24. 10.1186/s41235-017-0060-9.

System Requirements

Kinect v1.0
Kinect v2.0

Licensing Information

These games are free to share and adapt in compliance with the non-commercial creative commons license guidelines.

To request open source files, contact us for more information.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No1020367. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

National Science Foundation