Thursday, October 7, 2010

Electricity: Light a Lightbulb

Once your students understand the basic idea of a circuit, see if they can get a lightbulb to light.

Each student/pair/group will need a lightbulb (small ones work well), a D battery, and some wires with the ends stripped off (wires will aligator clips on the end work well if you have them).

Unless students have done this before, it will likely take them some time to figure it out. 

The trick is this...
Look closely to the filament in the lightbulb.  One end of it is attached to the bottom of the lightbulb and the other end is attached to the side of the lightbulb. 

So, in order to make a complete circuit, a wire needs to go from the battery to the side.  Then another wire needs to go from the bottom of the lightbulb back to the battery. 

It can be tough to hold everything in place, but once you get everything lined up, it works! 

After students have figured it out, usually through trial and error, I draw a giant lightbulb on the board and illustrate the circuit.

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