Posted April 1, 2010on:
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.
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.