Student discuss how many paths can be found on a map of the vector fields \(\vec{F}\) for which the integral
\(\int \vec{F}\cdot d\vec{r}\) is positive, negative, or zero. \(\vec{F}\) is conservative.
They do a similar activity for the vector field \(\vec{G}\) which is not conservative.

Students will estimate the work done by a given electric field. They will connect the work done to the height of a plastic surface graph of the electric potential.

Students need to understand that the surface represents the electric potential in the center of a parallel plate capacitor. Try doing the activity “Electric Potential of a Parallel Plate Capacitor” before this activity.

Students should know that

objects with like charge repel and opposite charge attract,

object tend to move toward lower energy configurations

The potential energy of a charged particle is related to its charge: \(U=qV\)

The force on a charged particle is related to its charge: \(\vec{F}=q\vec{E}\)

Students examine a plastic “surface” graph of the gravitational potential energy of an Earth-satellite system to explore the properties of gravitational potential energy for a spherically symmetric system.