Parents, Educators & Engineers

Electric Highway

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English PDF (1.6MB)

YOUR CHALLENGE

Design and build a circuit: an "electric highway" that connects a battery and buzzer at least three feet apart using four types of materials.

MATERIALS

  • AA battery
  • AA battery holder (optional)
  • Buzzer
  • Wire strippers
  • Scissors
  • Duct tape

Choose at least four conductors:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Electrical wire
  • Pennies
  • Washers
  • Paperclips
  • Binder clips
  • Paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper cups
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Twist ties

BRAINSTORM

  • How can you get electricity to travel three feet?
  • Which materials are conductors?
  • How will you know electricity is flowing?

NOTE:

  • A circuit is a path along which electricity can travel. A conductor is a material that electricity can flow through.
  • When all parts of the circuit are connected, electricity flows from the battery to the buzzer and back to the battery...turning on the buzzer. A break in the connection stops electricity from flowing.

DESIGN AND BUILD

  • Tape the battery to a table but keep the buzzer loose so you can keep making the circuit longer. When it reaches three feet and uses four conductors, you've done it! HINT: Test your highway as you build.

TEST AND REDESIGN

Is your buzzer not buzzing?

  • Are all the materials you used conductors?
  • Is there good contact between all parts of the circuit?

NOTE: The buzzer only works when its red wire connects to the positive (+) side of the battery and its black wire to the negative (-) side.

INSIDE THE ENGINEERING

You made electricity flow over a long distance—just like engineers do. By connecting conductors together, you can power a computer, a house, or a city!

KEEP BUILDING!

Make your electric highway even longer by adding more conductors. See how far you can make electricity flow!

electric highway picture