Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Capacitance Lab

Posted on: April 1, 2010


Marcie and I have been chatting.  She has this capacitor lab that she likes and said I can post it here.

The kids use the multimeter to measure the capacitance of some rudimentary parallel plate capacitors made from Al foil (Note: the Harbor Freight multimeters do not measure a small enough capacitance for this lab…it’s in the nF range).  I adapted this lab from somewhere but I can’t remember where are this point.  I have attached both the lab and the graphical analysis I make available to them.  I use this with my honors level class and they pretty much teach capacitors to themselves.  I try to do a lot with proportionality with them throughout the year so they can start to develop their own mathematical models (especially with straight forward things like this).  Although it’s a small step, having them develop their “own” models (or at least work through to find the equation) develops fundamental science skills necessary for research and enforces the fundamental content standards of NSTA.

Capacitance Lab

Excel Graphical Analysis

The capacitance lab paper is attached here, but due to WordPress limitations, the spreadsheet links to Marcie’s web page at school.

I want to do some experiments with wax paper rolling them into canisters and maybe plywood sheets of known thickness.  If I do, I’ll either add on to this post or create a new post with my results.

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1 Response to "Capacitance Lab"

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What’s New in 2013/2014?

Every year brings a change, this one is no exception.

I will be picking up the sophomore honors Algebra II class to keep them separate from the juniors. This should help accelerate them and put them on a stronger track towards Calculus. Looks like there will be only one section each of Physics and Calculus, but still two of Robotics & Engineering.

Hot topics this year are going to be the Common-Core Standards, Standards-Based Grading (SBG), improving AP Calculus scores, and somehow adding Python, maybe as a club.

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