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# Potential Due to a Pair of Charges - Part 1

**Keywords:**Small Group Activity, Compare and Contrast, Coulomb's Law, Electrostatic Potential, Multipoles, Charge, Taylor and Power Series, Scalar Field, Superposition, Symmetry

### Highlights of the activity

- This small group activity is designed to help students learn how to calculate the electrostatic potential field due to a distribution of discrete charges.
- Students calculate the electrostatic potential field generated by a two charges using superposition and the definition of $|\Vec r - \Vec r'|$.
- The wrap-up discussion addresses how the superposition principle is used and what $|\Vec r - \Vec r'|$ means geometrically in a specific problem.

### Reasons to spend class time on the activity

This activity is a quick check that students understand the role of $|\rr-\rr'|$ in the denominator of the expression for the potential due to a point charge. It is also a quick application of the superposition principle. This activity is part one of a longer activity, Electrostatic Potential Due to Two Point Charges, in which students do a series expansion of the expressions that they develop here.