Imagine telling your friends about your latest science project: using a battery to make a light turn on. Make batteries by pushing zinc and copper electrodes into potatoes, then investigate how to combine them in series and in parallel to power a buzzer and an LED. There are many types of batteries, ranging from tiny watch and hearing aid batteries that are just a few millimeters wide, to the normal AA batteries you use in many household electronic devices, to the large batteries you find under the hood of a car.
Finally, electrical resistance resists the flow of current, making it harder for electricity to flow. In a closed circuit (left), there is a complete path from the positive to the negative terminal of the battery, so electrical current can flow, and the lightbulb will light up (the yellow arrows represent electrical current).
A short circuit occurs when the battery's positive and negative terminals are connected directly to each other with electrical wires. When batteries are connected in series (top), the positive terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the next.
You can measure how much voltage or current a certain number of batteries can provide by determining the batteries' open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current. For circuits with three or more batteries, it is possible to do combinations of series and parallel connections. If one vegetable or fruit battery is not enough to power a buzzer, what could you do to resolve the problem?
Note that some juice may leak out of the potatoes during this process, so work on a surface that is easy to clean, or use paper towels. Press one copper and one zinc electrode into the middle of a potato, spaced roughly 1 inch apart, as shown in Figure 4.
Use alligator clips to connect the multimeter leads to the copper and zinc electrodes of a single potato, as shown in Figure 5.
First, plug the red multimeter lead into the multimeter port labeled VΩMA, and the black multimeter lead into the multimeter port labeled COM. Now clip one end of the red alligator clip onto the metal part of the red multimeter probe, and the other end onto the copper electrode. Finally, clip one end of the black alligator clip onto the metal part of the black multimeter probe, and the other end onto the zinc electrode.
Set the multimeter to measure direct current (again, you might need to adjust the scale to get a good reading). Important: Do not use your multimeter to measure current from regular batteries like AA or AAA. Disconnect the alligator clips from the multimeter leads, but leave them connected to the zinc and copper electrodes. Connect the red alligator clip (which should be connected to the copper electrode, the positive terminal of your battery) to the longer of the two LED leads. Connect the black alligator clip (which should be connected to the zinc electrode, the negative terminal of your battery) to the shorter of the two LED leads. Figure 6 shows diagrams of the LED and the buzzer connected to a single potato battery, with close-up pictures of the connections. Diagrams of the LED (top left) and buzzer (top right) connected to a single potato battery.
If you are interested, there are additional experiments listed under the Make It Your Own tab.
Repeat the experiment with different fruits and vegetables, such as apples, onions, oranges, or lemons.
Hook the battery up to a load (like a resistor, a buzzer, or an LED) and measure its voltage over a long period of time. Do a new experiment where you change the distance between the copper and zinc electrodes, and measure the effect of this distance on current and voltage. Do a new experiment where you change the amount of surface area of the electrodes that is embedded in the potatoes. Can you find a mathematical formula to predict the voltage and current delivered by combining potatoes in series or in parallel? If you were able to power an LED with your veggie battery, try putting two LEDs connected in series, or two LEDs connected in parallel, or a combination of an LED and a buzzer.
What happens if you do the experiment with smaller (or larger) potatoes, or cut a potato in half? Compared to a typical science class, please tell us how much you learned doing this project. That potatoes can produce a lot of energy and 2-3 of them can power an LED, and 1-3 can power a buzzer. The most important thing I learned out of this project was probability learning how a battery works.
That if you need a battery and all you have are some lemons and wires and nails, it will work!!! I added LED lights to show my son that the fruit batteries had enough power to be useful for something. The message that Tunnel Man delivers to GLOBE students is about science, but it is also about change. Is the whole trip going to be climbing up or will you have to go down sometimes like when you climb Mt. Maasai; this is the most known tribe and they are found in the southern part of the mountain.


Each of Kilimanjaroa€™s unique biomes are having to adjust to the smaller amounts of precipitation that fall on the mountain each year.
Yes, we cana€”wea€™ve done it before: the example of the revolution in public health that replaced chamber pots with sewers and clean water.
Celebrating their 6th year as a GLOBE School, Roswell Kent Middle School presented at the GLOBE Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. Put your School on the Map: Teachers, share what you have been doing in the classroom, and locate other Xpedition Schools in your country.
This method of storing energy allows us to make portable electronic devices (imagine what a pain it would be if everything had to be plugged into a wall outlet to work!). The flow of electricity is called an electrical current, which is measured in a unit called amperes (also called amps for short). Voltage (also referred to as electric potential) is what pushes electrical current through wires.
Circuits can be very complex, with millions and millions of components (like the ones inside your computer), or very simple, with just two components, like a battery and a lightbulb.
In order for electricity to flow in a battery-powered circuit, there must be a complete path from the positive terminal to the negative terminal. In an open circuit (right), one of the wires is disconnected, so the path is broken, which prevents electricity from flowing, so the lightbulb does not light up. The lightbulb in Figure 1 has a much higher resistance than the wires; the wires by themselves have a very low resistance. In this case, almost all of the current (represented by yellow arrows) flows through the wire instead of through the lightbulb.
You have probably used many devices that require two or more batteries, like toys or remote controls. When they are connected in parallel (bottom), all the positive terminals are connected, and all the negative terminals are connected. The amount of voltage and current that can be supplied by multiple batteries changes depending on whether you connect them in series or in parallel, and certain electronic devices might require a certain amount of voltage or current. A battery's open-circuit voltage is the voltage across a battery's terminals when it is not attached to anything. This introductory science project will only discuss purely parallel or purely series circuits. It's not as smart as you are, and it may occasionally give humorous, ridiculous, or even annoying results!
You will use this table to record the open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current of your potato batteries, and note whether they can power the light-emitting diode (LED) and the buzzer. Data table for recording open-circuit voltages, short-circuit currents, and whether the LED and buzzer can be powered by a certain battery configuration. The written description here will match the colors shown in the photos, but the color does not affect how the alligator clips function.
Record the short-circuit current in your data table right away (the current may begin to drop slightly as the battery begins to drain).
They can provide much more current than potatoes and other fruits and vegetables, and may damage your multimeter.
Connect the red alligator clip to the copper electrode (the positive terminal of your battery) and the black alligator clip to the zinc electrode (the negative terminal of your battery).
It is important to do this step correctly, because current can only flow through LEDs in one direction. It also has two leads, one marked with a "+" and one marked with a "-" on the plastic case. Close-up photos of the alligator clips connected to the LED (bottom left) and to the buzzer (bottom right).
Refer back to Figure 3 in the Introduction if you need a reminder about the difference between series and parallel connections.
Notice how the zinc (negative) electrode of one potato is connected to the copper (positive) electrode of the next potato, with the green alligator clips.
Refer back to Figure 3 in the Introduction if you need a reminder about the difference between series and parallel connections. Notice how the copper electrodes are connected together with green alligator clips and the zinc electrodes are connected together with yellow alligator clips. Notice how the zinc electrode of one potato is connected to the copper electrode of the next (with the green alligator clips), just like in Figure 7; but here, a third potato has been added.
Notice how all three copper electrodes are connected together using green alligator clips, and all three zinc electrodes are connected together using yellow alligator clips. If so, can you make different combinations, like two batteries in parallel combined with a third battery in series, and test your formulas on these more-complicated scenarios? It has been interesting listening to our science team members talk about the changes that will ultimately be taking place in the years to come. Shortly thereafter, you will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to join the webinar.
That might sound weird, but believe it or not, you can actually use a potato as an electrical battery to power small devices.
There are many different types of batteries, but they all depend on some sort of chemical reaction to generate electricity. Note that most batteries have a plus (+) sign printed on one end, but do not have the minus sign printed on them.


So, if possible, the electricity would prefer to just flow through wires, and avoid the lightbulb altogether (remember the "clogged pipe" analogy; water would rather flow through an empty pipe than through a clogged pipe). Electrical wires have very low resistance, so this allows a large amount of current to flow and can be dangerous. For example, have you ever noticed how a small device like a TV remote or computer mouse might only require two AAA batteries, but a larger toy or flashlight might require four or more AA batteries? This is the highest voltage that a battery can supply (the voltage will drop slightly when the battery is attached to a load). The Procedure section of this science project will carefully walk you through connecting potato batteries in series and in parallel (you can also read more about electricity in the Electricity, Magnetism, & Electromagnetism Tutorial). You might need to adjust the scale of your measurement to get a good reading; refer to the Multimeter Tutorial link above for help doing this. Nothing will break if these are reversed, but your multimeter will show negative voltage and current readings. Attach the red alligator clip to the "+" side, and the black alligator clip to the "-" side. The red and black alligator clips are connected to the load (which can be the LED, buzzer, or multimeter). The red and black alligator clips are still connected to the load (which can be the LED, buzzer, or multimeter).
Include one set of bars (or lines) for potatoes connected in series, and one set of bars (or lines) for potatoes connected in parallel (alternatively, you could make two separate graphs, one for series and one for parallel). Include one set of bars (or lines) for series, and one set of bars (or lines) for parallel (alternatively, you could make two separate graphs, one for series and one for parallel). Even though his hypothesis was wrong, he still won 3rd place in his 3rd grade school science fair. Such as boundary lines between biomes moving, much drier conditions on the leeward side of the mountain and streams, traditionally used by porters on the mountain running dry.
The birds and their singing are great to listen to while youa€™re hiking, and the monkeys are always fun to watch. Kilimanjaro, PolarTREC teacher John Wood is teaming up with GLOBE scientists, students, and fellow teachers on an ascent of Mt.
The chemical reaction typically occurs between two pieces of metal, called electrodes, and a liquid or paste, called an electrolyte. Think of resistance like a pipe that is clogged with debris; the more clogged the pipe is, the harder it will be to push water through. So, if a wire is put in the wrong place, this could create a short circuit, as shown in Figure 2. When multiple batteries are connected in series, the positive terminal of one battery is connected to the negative terminal of the next battery (and this repeats if there are more than two batteries). The short-circuit current is the current when the battery's terminals are shorted together. You will use a multimeter to measure their voltage and current, and check to see if your potato batteries can power a small light, called a light-emitting diode (LED), or a buzzer. Batteries power many things around you, including cell phones, wireless video game controllers, and smoke detectors. It turns out that the moisture inside a potato works pretty well as an electrolyte, so you just need to add some metal electrodes to a potato, and you have a battery!
How much current is drawn out of the battery depends on the load, or what the battery is connected to.
A short circuit can be very dangerous; it can result in a large amount of current being drawn from the battery, which can result in the battery overheating and even exploding!
When batteries are connected in parallel, all of the positive battery terminals are connected together, and all of the negative battery terminals are connected together.
This is the highest current the battery can supply (the current will also drop when the battery is attached to a load). Be sure to review the terms, questions, and references listed below before moving on to the Procedure tab. The event will take place after the team summits - hear from the teachers and students on the expedition including pictures from the trek! In this science project, you will learn about the basics of battery science and use potatoes to make a simple battery to power a small light and a buzzer. Note: You do not need to understand the details of the chemical reaction in order to do this science project. Figure 1 shows closed and open circuits in a simple circuit with a lightbulb attached to a battery.
Luckily, vegetable batteries only supply a very small amount of current, so they are safer to work with. How exactly do the voltage and current change when your batteries (potatoes) are configured in series or in parallel?



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