skip graphical navigation
PBS KidsZOOM Home Back to Activity
Science Rocks!

Electrical Messages


your results

Sent in by:
Himanshu of Aurora, CO

Send a message with just a battery!

Materials Needed

  • batteries
  • buzzers
  • long wires
  • masking tape
  • 12 things from around your house (the ZOOMers used things like a rubber duck, a whistle and a ball)



  1. Use the batteries, buzzers and wires to make a communication device.
  2. You can either try this on your own or get a bunch of friends to try it with you. If you try it with more than one friend, split into teams so you can compare your designs.
  3. Each team should come up with their own way to make a communication device with a battery, buzzer, and some wire. Think about how you will build a complete circuit to make the electricity flow and cause the buzzer to buzz. How will you interrupt the circuit to stop the flow of electricity to the buzzer?
  4. Once you've got your communication device working, use tape to mark a 3 x 4 grid on the floor. Put one household object in each of the squares.
  5. How could you use your communication device to tell someone which object to pick out of the grid? Each team should come up with its own code.
  6. Now use your code to tell another member of your team which object to pick up. Did it work? The other team can try to guess your code. The team whose code needs the most guesses to de-code is the winner.

How else could you use electricity from a battery to send messages in code? Maybe you could send a message to your friend across the street! Or what if your dog was in the next room? Could you get him to sit by sending a signal with electricity? Let us know what you come up with by sending your ideas to ZOOM!

Some of your Results

James, age 10 of Albury, IL wrote:
i added in 2 metal strips and used it to beep different messages it was pretty fun for about 10mins then I started altering the designs... eventually I made it start sending wireless signals to each buzzer.

Naomi, age 12 of London wrote:
When I did your circuit it work and it was buzzing.

Anthony, age 8 of Los Angeles, CA wrote:
Well, this is very different and I used 2 batteries, a small light bulb, a wire, and masking tape. I used a wire to attach the light bulb and the batteries;I taped the batteries then I used the wire to touch the battery and I think the battery pushes the juice to make a long-lasting lighting. I used the same code from Cara and Kortney.

Alexie, age 9 of Sudbury, CO wrote:
It works but I had to try about 6 times it was relly cool.

Daffy, age 13 of Detroit, MI wrote:
It worked for a little bit then it stoped then it worked for a little bit than stoped.

Tracy, age 9 of Calgary wrote:
I did the buzzer thing. I stuck the two batteries in opposite ends and I figured out a way to tell that person what to pick up by only buzzing the thing. It was 2 short beeps for up, 1 short beep for down, 1 long beep for right and 2 long beeps for left. It was really cool.

Leah of Meteor Crater, AZ wrote:
My code was the same as Kortney and Cara did on ZOOM. I got a toy horse and an ink bottle. I did it with my brother Randolph. He got the code right.

not yet implemented