Electric circuit steady hand game

Make a game that needs a steady hand - try not to light the bulb or make a buzzer sound!
Science content
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)
Physics: Electricity, Electromagnetism (7)
Lessons activity is in
  • home-made wires from tin foil and masking tape, or electrical wire
  • light bulb e.g. from holiday light string OR a buzzer
  • battery - I use AA size (note a buzzer may require two)
  • optional: battery holder (recommended when two batteries are required)
  • either: rigid, bendable wire (e.g. floral wire) and aluminum foil
  • or: copper wire or steel strapping
  • masking tape
  • mini binder clips
  • cardboard or foam core to make base (or tape directly to a desk)

If using floral wire, fold one end into a triangle, push through a base or tape to a desk, then wrap it in a large piece of aluminum foil. Bend into a curvy shape. If using copper wire/steel strapping (first photo only) bend them into a curvy shape then attach one end to a desk or base.

Using tape or binder clips, attach the bulb/buzzer then the battery/batteries, from the base of the curvy piece made above.
Then from the battery, add on a longer piece of wire (home-made or purchased), which can easily reach to the top end of the curvy piece.
To the end of this long wire, clip a loop of tin foil or metal.

Test the circuit - when the small metal loop touches the curvy piece the bulb should light or the buzzer should sound. If it does not, redo the connections one by one and check each time for the bulb lighting.

To play the game:
Move the loop from the top of the curvy piece all the way down to its base without touching it. If you do touch it, you will close the circuit and the bulb will light/the buzzer will sound. How far can you go? If it is too easy, make the loop smaller, or the curvy piece more wiggly.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Gr 7