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ERIC Number: EJ1142580
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Apr
Pages: 1
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Demystifying Electric Flux and Gauss's Law
McManus, Jeff
Physics Teacher, v55 n4 p252 Apr 2017
Many physics students have experienced the difficulty of internalizing concepts in electrostatics. After studying concrete, measurable details in mechanics, they are challenged by abstract ideas such as electric fields, flux, Gauss's law, and electric potential. There are a few well-known hands-on activities that help students get experience with these ideas. Perhaps the most popular are field-mapping activities in many forms ranging from metal electrodes in a shallow dish of water to metal pens and conductive paper. My experience of teaching with these activities in my AP Physics course left me disappointed and my students still mystified. Over the last several years, I have developed some hands-on activities that have helped my students better understand and apply these concepts. In this column, I will describe one such activity, a flux calculation that presents an opportunity to apply Gauss's law.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A