Computational simulation in electric field

Submitted by Guilherme Henr… on Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:53

Student activity in group work of an activity with the "Charges and Fields" computer simulation of the site "PhET Interactive Simulations". The simulation allows students to measure and analyze the electric field values of positive or negative punctiform electric charges - associated to points located in the vicinity of the loads - as a function of distance values and load value. The realization of the activity allows students to: observe the direction and direction of the electric field generated by positive and negative punctiform charges; to verify how the electric field generated by a point charge varies as a function of the distance to the load; and to construct a graph of the electric field in function of the distance to the load.

Physical Sciences
Blended learning
Sequence of activities
  • Put the positive charge in the center of the screen. 
  • Point the cursor at the bottom of the screen and drag the sensor to the center of the screen. This object will allow you to make measurements of the electric field E at any point around the charge.
  • Turn on the "values" feature in the upper right corner of the screen. With this, you can see the value of the electric field at the point where the sensor is. This value is accompanied by the unit of measurement V / m and is located above the sensor.
  • The red arrow coming out of the sensor is a vector representing the module, direction and felt of the electric field at the rated point. 
  • Drag the measuring tape located on the right side and position it in the center region. This instrument will allow you to measure distances.
  • Using the available instruments, measure the electric field value at 10 points in the vicinity of the positive charge. 
  • Write down the values ​​found in a table. 
  • Using the data collected, construct a graph of the electric field as a function of distance.
  • Repeat the previous steps using the negative charge instead of the positive charge.
Assessment method
Direct observation
Written work or similar
IT infrastructure ( or other specific hardware)
Room equipment (e.g. Flip chart, projector or other hardware)
Study guide

Berge, J., & Varma, R. K. (2009, May). A software simulator for geomagnetically induced currents in electrical power systems. In 2009 Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering (pp. 695-700). IEEE.  

Tartera, FJ (2010). Programas simuladores. MAD.RID. Revista de Innovación Didáctica de Madrid. Pág. 3 - 10. ISSN 2171-7842. Visto el 30/05/2019 en

Romero, G., Maroto, J., Félez, J., Cabanellas, J. M., Martínez, M. L., & Carretero, A. (2008). Virtual reality applied to a full simulator of electrical sub-stations. Electric Power Systems Research, 78(3), 409-417.  


1 hour - 2 hours
Grade your contribution (I consider this TEL method can be used with TEL tools)