Exploring Electricity

Written by Mommy Cameron | Homeschooling

Thing 1 loves to ask questions.  At some point recently he asked me how the lights worked. I tried to explain the best I could, but we home school, so why not show him.

lightbulbs with lightbulb holders
6 volt battery
2.5 feet of insulated copper wire (2 – 1 foot pieces and 1 – 6 inch piece)
various metal and non-metal objects (buttons, pennies, nickles, paperclips, plastic links, aluminum foil, paper,  etc.)
switch (optional)
buzzer (optional)

I ordered everything, except the various metal and non-metal objects from homesciencetools.com.

Since this was being done with a 4 year old and two five year olds, I went ahead and attached the  two 1 foot pieces of wire to the battery.  I then attached the 6 inch piece of wire to the lightbulb holder.

First we let the kids play to see if they could get the light bulb to light up.

Once everyone was able to get the lightbulb to light up, we talked about the basics of a circuit and how a circuit must be complete in order for the lightbulb to light up.

Next, the kids added the various metal and non-metal objects to the circuit to see if they would conduct electricity.  This is where the kids really started having fun. It didn’t take them long to see figure out which types of objects were conductors.

Towards the end I added the switch to the circuit.  I think this really helped Thing 1 see how a real light switch works.


Thing 3 also liked this part, because it was something he could easily do.  He has spent a lot of time flipping the switch back and forth, noting how the light turns on and off.

Obviously you can go a lot more in depth into what is actually happening when the circuit is complete and why certain objects conduct electricity and others don’t.  However, it is important to remember your audience.

How have you explored electricity?

Just another day Learning with the Cameron Clan!