- light bulb (preferably from a flashlight)
- copper wire
- tape (electrical tape is recommended, but masking or scotch tape can also work)
- an adult helper
This week we are going to investigate electricity by making a simple circuit.
We'll need just a few simple supplies - a lightbulb (a flasglight lightbulb is recommended, some copper wire and a battery. An adult friend is also handy because he or she can help us experiment safely with electricity. :)
First, let's take a look at the cooper wire. You need to make sure that some of the copper part of the wire is showing. If not have an adult help you strip the wire so you can access the metal inside of the wire.
Touch one end of the wire to one end of the battery. This is where the tape might come in handy. You could tape the wire to the end of the battery so that you have two free hands for our next step.
Now touch the light bulb to the other end of the battery. When you touch the remaining end of the wire to the light bulb it should light up. Remember, one end of the wire must be touching only the light bulb and not the battery and the light bulb or it will not work.
WARNING: To do this experiment, we are shorting out a battery and sometimes the wire can get to be very hot when or if you are holding it on the battery. If it begins to get hot, let go.
Electricity works because of the motion of these little tiny things called electrons. You can think of these electrons as being lazy or kind of like a stream of water. They will always take the path of least resistance. This is why if the light end of your wire is touching the light and the battery it will not work.
Electrons come rushing out of the battery through the wire, through the light bulb and back into the battery. If the circuit is broken (the wire not attached) the electrons will not flow through the wire, since they have no where to go. Remember, electricity is the MOTION of electrons.
Once you get it to work, try different ways to get the light bulb to light up. Try adding a battery, and see what happens (I would only add one extra battery, and more and you will run the risk of burning your light bulb out). Experiment, and let us know your results.