By creating a battery from a potato, children learn about electricity. This safe experiment requires a potato, copper and zinc metal plates, wires with alligator clips to connect to the plates and a light bulb. Other examples of experiments include determining which brand of battery lasts the longest and creating an electromagnet.
The prices of batteries vary greatly. However, some batteries last longer than others. In one experiment, the student connects a battery to a flashlight bulb to see how long the battery continues to provide enough power to light the lamp. Students have the opportunity to make a math connection by dividing the cost of the battery by the minutes the lamp remains illuminated to give the cents-per-minute cost of each battery tested.
Electromagnets are important in many electronic devices. They are an essential part of doorbells, electric motors and automobiles. To experiment with electromagnets, Energizer recommends children build one for themselves using a large nail, wire and batteries. They wrap the wire around the nail in an evenly spaced coil and connect the wire ends to the electrodes of a battery. If they succeed in building an electromagnet, the nail attracts paper clips when connected to the battery. When they disconnect the wire from the battery, the nail is no longer magnetic.