Lemon Battery Project
Electricity for kids and grownups alike!
Making a lemon battery is one of the classic science projects for kids. It is inexpensive, easy to set up and fairly easy to perform.
If you take a quick peek at the supplies photo below, you'll see we need a voltmeter. Don't let that scare you. A fruit battery doesn't generate enough power to actually light a bulb, so a meter is needed to see the effect. That's why I believe this is better suited as a 5th grade science project, if done by itself. However, nothing is hard and fast here. If you want to combine this with the "Turning on a Light Bulb" experiment to bridge the gap between lighting a bulb and seeing the meter move, it could be made to fit elementary science projects from about first grade on.
What could be more everyday than a lemon, a couple of nails and some wire? Well, that's all you need to make a lemon battery. As is the case with most science projects on this site, the goal here is to learn by using stuff we see around us in everyday life.
We will learn a bit more about electricity, possibly some new science terms, and if this project is done with the first grade "Light Bulb" experiment, we can tie a familiar flashlight operation to the more abstract concept of a meter reading.
- 1 medium size lemon or lime
- About 4 in. wire with insulation
removed, #12 or #18 works just fine
- 1 steel nail, #6 or 8 is ok
- 1 zinc plated nail, #6 or 8 is ok
- Small piece of sand paper
- Knife or wire pliers (not shown) to
- A voltmeter that can read tenths of a volt, but nothing fancy beyond that.
The lemon battery project requires almost no advance setup. Just gather the above material, strip the insulation off the wire and use the sand paper on the wire and nail ends just before performing the experiment.
Break the class into equal groups according to the number material sets you have available. If...