Thursday, 20 November 2014
How many electrons do you need to make up a total charge of -1 coulomb? The kids know that an electron has a charge of -1.6×10-19 coulombs. Why, then, is it so hard for them to divide the total charge (-1 C) by the elemental charge (-1.6×10-19 C)? My guess is that it’s because the charge on a single electron is impossibly small — that the scientific notation is distracting them. My suspicion is confirmed because when I change the numbers to 100 C total charge and each element possessing a charge of 10 C, they totally know what to do.