Recently the boys have been showing an interest in how things work so I thought we'd test out making some simple circuits with them and whilst we were at it learn a bit about what materials conduct electricity. This is what we did....
I bought some simple electronics parts from our local Maplin store. We put 2 AA batteries in a battery box with a snap connector (this connects to the batteries and has two wires coming out of it), We then connected a wire to each side of the light bulb holder and yey, it lit up! Phew!
These aren't the exact products we used, but hopefully they give you an idea of what we created if it's not clear from the pictures. These pictures link to Amazon and are affiliate links:
Once we'd tested out the light bulb we added an extra wire so that we could test how conductive different materials are. Hopefully the diagram below makes sense. You can see Champ above connecting the two wires to prove that the light bulb still lights up.
If I'd had been a bit better prepared this would have been a great opportunity to get the boys to write down what materials they thought would or wouldn't conduct electricity. Unfortunately, I wasn't that organised, but we did discuss it verbally.
The boys understanding of electricity is very simple, but they understand that it makes things work and we talked about how it runs along the wires and how it needs to be in a complete circuit to work.
So, when we talked about conductivity we talked about if the electricity could also run along the different materials.
First, up we tested some Lego, which didn't work.
Next up a fork, which did work.
Then an eraser which despite predictions fro the boys didn't work.
And, the end of the screwdriver which they predicted would work having picked up that metal conducts electricity.
They then rushed off round the garden to find other things to test at which point I stopped taking photos as a bit more supervision was required!
We did talk about safety and that electricity isn't for playing with and should only we used for experiments with a grown up. But, with it only being 2AA batteries they could safely touch both the wires at the same time and not even get a buzz from the wires. Please only do with your kids what you are confident in.
The boys thoroughly enjoyed this and now we have the basic kit I think we'll be doing a few more experiments - if you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments.