Make Your Own Batteries!

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This activity (on page 3 of the PDF under GPS: Body Electricity Activity) is a full inquiry investigation into conductivity. Learners will harness the surprising electricity of fruit when they create a battery out of a lemon stuck with copper and zinc nails. Wiring the nails to a volt meter starts the experimenting stage, trying different wiring connections, different fruit and even making a series of fruit and veggie batteries to make more power. Relates to linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Body Electricity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • One zinc nail (look for galvanized nails at the hardware store)
  • One copper nail (a copper penny can be used if a copper nail isn’t available)
  • One steel nail (not the galvanized kind)
  • One squishy lemon (roll it around on the table to make it really squishy) or a lemon cut in half
  • Alligator-clip wire connectors
  • Voltage multimeter
  • Other fruit, such as an apple, orange, pear, or banana, and vegetables


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Ecology
      • Energy Flow and Chemical Cycles
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2006

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 515566