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Point Charge Electric Field JS Model
written by Wolfgang Christian and Anne Cox
This page features a set of three models for exploring electric field strength and direction using one or more point charges. Positive point charges are represented as red circles; negative point charges are blue circles. The simulations display the electric field using color-coded unit vectors together with a draggable "test charge" and its force vector. The field magnitude is shown in a yellow message box near the bottom of the view as the test charge is dragged.

The Coulomb's Law and Electric Field JavaScript model was developed using version 5 of the Easy Java Simulations (EJS 5) modeling tool. Although EJS is a Java program, EJS 5 creates stand-alone JavaScript programs that run in almost any browser.
Editor's Note: Teachers: A test charge is a representation, given a specific charge quantity denoted by the symbol "q". When placed in the electric field, the test charge will experience attraction to or repulsion from the positive or negative "point charges". Test charges are used to test the strength of an electric field.
2 supplemental documents are available
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
Electricity & Magnetism
- DC Circuits
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
- Electrostatics
= Coulomb's Law
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Wolfgang Christian
field vectors, test charge
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created August 17, 2016 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
May 14, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 16, 2016
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (MS-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (6-8)
  • Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. (MS-PS2-3)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
  • Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects. (6-8)
  • Attraction and repulsion between electric charges at the atomic scale explain the structure, properties, and transformations of matter, as well as the contact forces between material objects. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships. (6-8)
  • Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena. (9-12)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
  • Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems. (6-8)
  • Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. (9-12)
Structure and Function (K-12)
  • Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the relationships among its parts, therefore complex natural structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function. (6-8)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
  • Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation. (6-8)
  • Science assumes the universe is a vast single system in which basic laws are consistent. (9-12)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
    • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (6-8)
  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
    • Analyze data using computational models in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G (9-12) #3.  There are two kinds of charges?positive and negative. Like charges repel one another, opposite charges attract. In materials, there are almost exactly equal proportions of positive and negative charges, making the materials as a whole electrically neutral. Negative charges, being associated with electrons, are far more mobile in materials than positive charges are. A very small excess or deficit of negative charges in a material produces noticeable electric forces.

NSES Content Standards

Con.B: Physical Science
  • 9-12: Motions & Forces

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Field

This set of three models would be a great choice for an inquiry-based exploration of electric field strength, attraction/repulsion between positive and negative charges, and factors that affect the direction of field lines. We recommend allowing one class period for students to explore the models before introducing labs on electrostatics. Each model includes accompanying problem sets.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
W. Christian and A. Cox, Computer Program POINT CHARGE ELECTRIC FIELD JS MODEL, Version 1.0 (2016), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455).
W. Christian and A. Cox, Computer Program POINT CHARGE ELECTRIC FIELD JS MODEL, Version 1.0 (2016), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455>.
APA Format
Christian, W., & Cox, A. (2016). Point Charge Electric Field JS Model (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved May 25, 2018, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455
Chicago Format
Christian, Wolfgang, and Anne Cox. "Point Charge Electric Field JS Model." Version 1.0. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455 (accessed 25 May 2018).
MLA Format
Christian, Wolfgang, and Anne Cox. Point Charge Electric Field JS Model. Vers. 1.0. Computer software. 2016. 25 May 2018 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Wolfgang Christian and Anne Cox", Title = {Point Charge Electric Field JS Model}, Month = {August}, Year = {2016} }
Refer Export Format

%A Wolfgang Christian
%A Anne Cox
%T Point Charge Electric Field JS Model
%D August 16, 2016
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455
%O 1.0
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Christian, Wolfgang
%A Cox, Anne
%D August 16, 2016
%T Point Charge Electric Field JS Model
%7 1.0
%8 August 16, 2016
%U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=14060&DocID=4455

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

Point Charge Electric Field JS Model:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Coulomb's Law and Electric Fields JS Model.

relation by Wolfgang Christian

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