Electric circuit to light a bulb

Make a simple circuit to light a bulb with a battery.
Science content
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)
Physics: Electricity, Electromagnetism (7)
Lessons activity is in

For each student:

  • bulb e.g. 2V lamp
  • white paper (to view filament against)
  • bulb holder
  • battery holder, with wires from each terminus
  • 1.5V AA battery
  • few inches of (yellow) wire, with the ends stripped
  • two small pieces of foil
  • cardboard base to mount circuit components on
  • duct tape

See electric circuits with home-made wires and bulbs for a very similar (and better) activity.

In your house, when you flick the switch, the light comes on. We’ll make our own light come on.

Here’s your bulb. Draw the bulb on the board. White paper behind a bulb to see the wire element better. When electricity squeezes through the thin wire it makes it so hot it glows.
Screw into a bulb holder and show how it connects to the bulb connectors.

Wire one end of the battery holder to the bulb. Wire the yellow piece of wire to the other side of the bulb holder.
Add a battery. Touch the wire ends together to light the bulb. Add blobs of foil to the end of each wire to make a better connection.
Draw the circuit on the board.
Students can join their circuits in a circle to light all their bulbs at once.

Add a cardboard base for each student to make the parts stay in one place: secure the battery holder with a loop of duct tape, and tape the bulb holder to the board.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3