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Making a Battery from a Potato


Source Institutions

    Mount Holyoke College

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Making a Battery from a Potato

In this electrochemistry activity, young learners and adult helpers create a battery from a potato to run a clock. This resource includes background information about electricity, electronics, and chemical reactions. Learners can also test this experiment with other fruits and vegetables in place of the potato. This activity was written to be part of a kit that could be checked out of a library, though the kit is not required.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

Language:
English

Materials List (per student)


  • Simple
 stick 
on 
clock
 with
 red 
and
 black leads 
soldered
 onto
 the
 +
 and
 –
 terminals
  • Battery to run clock
  • Wire 
with 
alligator
 clips
  • 2 copper
 coated 
nails
  • 2 zinc
 coated
 nails
  • Potato
 and
 other
 potential 
fruit
 or
 vegetables
 to
 test

Subjects


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
    • Technology
      • Energy and Power
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electric Circuits
    • Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Elementary Particles and Nuclear Physics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories


  • Electronics
  • Food and Cooking

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Shaw, Maisie; Gomez, Maria

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Passport to Chemistry Adventure Program, Mount Holyoke College, ©2010

Funding Source:

  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.

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