The leaf electroscope is a common piece of demonstration equipment found in many high school and introductory college physics laboratories. Its simplicity allows a compelling demonstration of electrostatic forces, and its versatility makes it useful in the demonstration of a number of physical phenomena. The electroscope has a long history; a device for detecting net static charge using a rotating needle, the versorium, was described by Gilbert in De Magnete in 1600.1 The leaf electroscope was invented by Bennet and described in a letter published by the Royal Society in 1787.2 This paper will describe the use of the leaf electroscope as a build-at-home project in the second-semester introductory calculus-based physics class at the University of Arkansas.

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