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Make a Lemon Battery

Explore electricity with a homemade battery in this week's science activity spotlight.

Ever wondered how a battery works to store and generate electricity? With a lemon, a penny, some plastic coated paper clips, and aluminum foil, you can make a fruit-powered battery and really see how the process works! What kinds of materials conduct electricity? What about a lemon makes it capable of producing electricity? The power from a lemon isn't going to be enough to power your cell phone, but in this week's hands-on family science activity, kids can experiment with a homemade, low-voltage battery using a lemon and "feel" the electricity created. Using other projects (see below), families and students can expand the science exploration to other fruits and vegetables and more in-depth investigation.

Lemons may be sour, but in this science activity, getting a charge from a lemon is about electricity, not taste!

Not Just for Lemons!

Lemons are a great way to experiment with a produce-powered battery, but they are not the only fruit or vegetable you can hook up to generate electricity. With the Veggie Power Battery Kit science kit (and Potato Batteries Science Buddies Project Idea), students can experiment with similar concepts using copper and zinc electrodes. What fruits and vegetables work best? How much power can you generate this way?

See also: Squash Power and Pumpkin Power Project.

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