How Electrons Move

lovelyphloxElectronics - Devices

Oct 18, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)


Teacher’s Guide

How Electrons Move


Students explore how electrons create fields and are influenced by fields. Students
begin by learning how to use vectors as a concise way of visualizing force fields. Then
students learn how to interpret electr
ic field representation and how to use charged
particles to deflect the motion of an electron. Students also learn how to design a
uniform field that will accelerate an electron along a straight path. Finally, students
explore the movement of electrons in
magnetic fields.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

Identify the relationship between the magnitude and direction of a force vector
and the distance between charged objects

Interpret electric field representations of forces present around a char

Determine how the motion of an electron is affected by the forces created by
electric field surround charge particles.

Explain how movement of electrons in magnetic fields is related to charge, mass,
velocity, and magnetic intensity.

uisite Knowledge

Students should already have a basic understanding of:


Coulomb’s Law




Background and resources

The article “General Students’ Misconceptions Related to Electricity and Magnetism” by
Christian Raduta from the ph
ysics department at The Ohio State University discusses on page
10 how students typically see the electric and magnetic fields as having a static nature. It is
important to notice whether or not your students think whether or not a field exists in a space
and applies forces on charges, and/or whether they think it does not change even when a new
charged particle enters a region. This conception should change after working with the models
in the activity (but it may not).


A simpl
e explanation of magnetic fields can be found in the following video

In the following video natural magnetic fields are revealed as chaotic, ever
g geometries
as scientists from NASA's Space Sciences Laboratory excitedly describe their discoveries.

Approximate tim
e for lesson completion: 60 minutes

Activity Answer Guide

Page 1:

No questions.

Page 2:

1. Place a snapshot here with an annotation
showing where you think the hidden charge
is in the model above.

The invisible charge is somewhere in the area of
e red circle.

2. If you have two charged particles side by
side and no other particles present, which of
the following is possible concerning their
force vectors?


3. What is the relationship between the
length of a force vector (the magnitude of t
force) and the distance between charged


4. Place a snapshot here with annotations
proving your answer to the question to the
left. If necessary, return to the model and
create the snapshot you need

Note that the invisible charge is use
d to pair with
the visible negative charge at the lower

Page 3:

1. Did you guess incorrectly about what
particles were present in any of the four
examples above? If so, explain what
mistakes you made and why you think you
made them.

In som
e cases I guessed correctly and in others
incorrectly. When I guessed incorrectly, it was
because I was not able to detect when a neutral
particle was present. Otherwise, the direction of
the force field vectors made it possible to guess
where and what typ
e of charge was present.

Electric field vectors all pointing towards a
single point indicates what?


3. Which of these subatomic particles would
NOT have an electric field?


Page 4:

1. Prediction: Do you think the electron in the
Electron Canno
n Game would travel on the
same path if you changed all of the charges
by the same amount?


2. Was your prediction correct? Explain what
happened when you increased or decreased
the amount of charge on the stationary

Yes, my prediction was co
rrect. When I changed
all the charges by the same amount, the
interaction of the electron with the charges
closest to it significantly changed the path of the

3. Place the snapshot of your winning game

Snapshot solutions will vary.

4. De
scribe what you needed to do in order
to win the game.

I had to carefully arrange the attraction and
repulsion forces that would guide the electron’s
path to the target. I had to try to avoid the

Page 5:

1. Place an image of a uniform field tha
accelerates an electron in a straight line

2. Which of the following would NOT
increase the average strength of the electric
field within the box in the above model? Note
that some of these options can be tested
with the model


Page 6:


The picture to the right was formed by
placing a bar magnet under a piece of paper
and then sprinkling iron filings on top.
Describe the relationship between the
pattern formed and the magnetic field
created by the magnet.

The iron filings line up along
the magnetic field
created by the magnet.

Page 7:

1. Place a snapshot of your attempt to match
Challenge A here.

2. Place a snapshot of your attempt to match
Challenge B here.

3. If you have a magnetic field pointing out of
the screen, moving e
lectrons, which are
negative, will


4. Which of the following would make a
charged particle traveling clockwise in a
magnetic field change direction and start
moving counter


5. Which of the following images was created
by gradually

decreasing the field intensity
from a large positive value to a small positive


Page 8:

1. If you have two charged particles
positioned one above the other, which of the
following is NOT possible concerning their
force vectors?

(a) (b) (

2. In which of the following setup of electric
field or magnetic field can a single charged
particle possibly stay motionless?

(a) (d)

3. Which of the following can move an
electron in a straight line?


4. Which factors affect the strength of a
electric field?


5. Mass spectrometry is an analytical
technique for determining the elemental
composition of a sample. Some mass
spectrometers use a magnetic field to deflect
the trajectories of ions (see the above image
on the left), something you

have learned in
this activity. Explain why this method can be
used to sort ions of different masses and
charges using the above model.

Ions of different masses and same charge have
different deflections after moving across the
same magnetic field. They en
d up in difference
places in the detector pane. Looking at how
many ions arrive in different spots of the
detector pane, we can deduce how many
different kinds of atoms the sample has.