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Get charged up by creating a battery and testing for conductivity.

Count Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist and pioneer in electricity, is credited with making the fast battery, notes the nonprofit Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation in its free Charge Up to Recycle! Battery Lesson Plan.

Because of Volta's discoveries, the volt-an electrical unit used for measuring the potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit-is named in his honor. One of Volta's fast batteries was made from a pile of cardboard disks soaked in acid (or sea water) and layered between copper and zinc disks. This experiment resulted in an electric current that was known as the Voltaic cell, the first wet-cell battery.

Students have the opportunity with RBRC's lesson plan to duplicate one of Volta's early experiments and create their own battery. The full lesson plan is available for download at In the meantime, plug into these two activities from the curriculum packet.

Making a homemade wet cell

This battery is an example of the very first one created by Alessandro Volta in 1800.

Materials: Lemons, coins (such as copper pennies), paper towels, aluminum foil (or coins such as dimes), bowl, scissors, lemon juicer, wire strippers, plastic tape, paper tube (toilet paper or paper towel tube will work), plastic-covered electrical wire.

Steps: Wrap foil over one end of the paper tube and then secure it by taping it down. With the wire cutters, strip 1-2 inches of the plastic from the wire. Tape one end to the foil. Squeeze the juice from the

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Title Annotation:studying electrical conductivity; Grades 4-8
Publication:Curriculum Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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