Electric circuit steady hand game

Make a game that needs a steady hand - try not to light the bulb!
Science content
Physics: Energy forms, Conservation of Energy (1, 3, 4, 5)
Physics: Electricity, Electromagnetism (7)
Lessons activity is in
  • open circuit, made on a board as pictured - optional: use home-made wires
  • 1 foot of copper wire, or use steel strapping (which can be affixed to the board more securely)
  • brass wire, or other metal, twisted into a loop, the twisted end covered in foil
  • small binder clip

Make a base to attach the circuit to. Sturdy cardboard with masking tape covering it works well.

Either using purchased wire, bulb and battery holder, or using home-made wires and bulbs, join the battery to a bulb.
Bend the copper wire/steel strapping into a shape and securely attach one end to the base, on top of a open wire. You can use a blob of aluminium foil to make sure the connection is good.

Clip the small metal loop to the other free wire, again using foil to make the connection good.

Test the circuit - when the small metal loop touches the bent copper wire/strapping the bulb should light. If it does not, redo the connections one by one and check each time.

To play the game.
Moving the loop along the copper wire/strapping without touching it. If you do touch it, you will close the circuit and make the bulb light. How far can you go without making the bulb turn on? If it is too easy, make the wire loop smaller, or the copper wire/strapping more wiggly.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Teaching site
Gordon Elementary Science Club
ingridscience afterschool