Lesson Plan: Absolute Electric Potential Physics

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to calculate the absolute electric potential at different positions due to combinations of radial electric fields.

Objectives

Students will be able to

  • define the absolute electric potential due to the electric field of a point charge, 𝑞, at a position, 𝑃, as the work done on a unit positive test charge, 𝑞, to move the test charge to 𝑃 from an infinite distance from 𝑞,
  • relate the absolute electric potential, 𝑉, due to the electric field of a point charge, 𝑞, at a distance, 𝑟, from the charge to 𝑞 and 𝑟, using the equation 𝑉=𝑘𝑞𝑟, where 𝑘 is the coulomb constant,
  • recognize that the work done, 𝑊, on a unit positive test charge, 𝑞, that moves within the electric field of a point charge, 𝑞, is given by the equation 𝑊=𝑘𝑞𝑞Δ𝑟, where 𝑟 is the separation distance of 𝑞 and 𝑞,
  • recognize that the work done, 𝑊, on a positive test charge, 𝑞, that moves within the electric field of a point charge, 𝑞, depends only on the change in the separation distance of 𝑞 and 𝑞, and so it does not depend on the path that 𝑞 takes between an initial and final value of separation distance from 𝑞.

Prerequisites

Students should already be familiar with

  • Coulomb’s law,
  • electric field of a point charge,
  • electric potential difference.

Exclusions

Students will not cover

  • descriptions of the resultant electric potentials due to symmetrical distributions of electric charge.

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