Before you learn how to make one, let’s catch a glimpse of what an electroscope is and does. An electroscope is an early scientific instrument that is used to detect the presence and magnitude of charge on an object. The first electroscope was invented and built in 1600 by British physician William Gilbert. There are different types of electroscope made with different materials like pith ball or gold leaf.
We will learn how to make a simple electroscope using aluminium strips or paper strips as charge detecting material. The electroscope can be easily prepared with everyday household items. It is a great school science project for kids. You can make and demonstrate this electroscope easily. You can also explain the concept of charge and its absorption by different materials.
The copper wire used is a strong conducting material that absorbs the extra charge from the object. It then transfers it to the aluminium strips below. Now since the same sign charge is transferred to both the strips below, they repel each other showing the presence of charge. You can also relate the amount of deflection with the magnitude of charge.