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Science Experiment: Homemade Battery

Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!

Purpose: This activity shows you how to build and test a simple homemade battery to better understand electricity. It is meant for school grades 4 and up. For more information on electricity and batteries go to Electricity for Kids.

  • lemon
  • lamp (bulb holder)
  • knife
  • hammer
  • copper strip
  • zinc strip
  • 2 copper wire leads
  • penny nail
  • galvanometer or 0.2 volt bulb
  • science journal

  • Procedure
    1. Roll the lemon a few times on a counter to get the juices flowing.
    2. With adult supervision: Use the knife to make two parallel (side by side) slits 2 cm apart in the lemon.
    3. Make a small nail hole in the end of the metal copper and zinc strips.
    4. Insert the copper strip into one slit and the zinc strip into the other slit so that they stay 2 cm apart.
    5. Connect the wire leads to the copper strip and the zinc strip by looping the wires through the holes made by the nail.
    6. Connect one of the ends of the wire to the terminals on a lamp (bulb holder) or on one end of the galvanometer.
    7. Predict what will happen when the loose wire touches the lamp terminal or the galvanometer.
    8. Take the other loose wire end and touch it to the open terminal of the lamp or galvanometer to complete the circuit in short intervals.

    What is the power source?
    Would two strips of the same metal produce electricity?
    What other fruit can be used instead of the lemon?
    List the circuit parts.


    Answer Key

    1. What is the power source?

    The acid in the lemon is the power source.

    2. Would two strips of the same metal produce electricity?

    Strips of the same metal would not produce electricity.

    3. What other fruit can be used instead of the lemon?

    An orange or a grapefruit can also be used in this experiment.

    4. List the circuit parts.

    The parts of the circuit include acidity in the lemon (power source); copper and zinc metal strips (conductors); wires (carry the electricity); lamp bulb holder and/or galvanometer (load); loose wire end (switch).

    Reference: NASA SciFiles

    More Electricity Experiments:
    Electronic Circuit - Create an electronic circuit.
    Static Electricity - What is static electricity and how does it work?

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