Tape Electroscope

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In this simple activity, learners create an electroscope by sticking two short pieces of magic tape together and then pulling them apart to find the sign of the charge on an unknown charged object. Learners will discover that like charges repel and that charged things attract uncharged things.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Scotch Magic Tape, 3/4" wide
  • a plastic or rubber comb
  • a piece of wool or human hair
  • a table
  • an unknown charged object
  • marker or pen


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Doherty, Paul


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 1999