CLEVELAND — Let’s spark the imagination! I’ve been looking for little science experiments we can do at home for fun and to hit the STEAM lessons. Luckily, I was able to find a science kit for less than $15 that had five experiments rolled into one box.
The one that they were most curious about: How can we turn a lemon into a battery?
This experiment uses two zinc plates, an LCD watch, connection wires and tape. All of these can be found on Amazon as well. From the kitchen, we needed two forks and one lemon (an apple and potato work just as well, too).
The connection wires should be different colors. We took the red one, taped it to the fork and the LCD watch. Then we took the black wire and taped it to the zinc plate and LCD watch. Then we took the white wire and connected it to a fork and zinc plate (got all of that? Check out the picture).
Then we stuck the two forks into the lemons and – just like magic (or science) – we saw the watch blink 12:00!
Our girls are a little on the young side to understand, but we explained how the forks act like positive electrodes of a battery. Since they are metal, they are less reactive than the zinc plates. When both are stuck into an acid, like the lemon, a chemical reaction takes place. The electrons move between the metal and the zinc to create an electrical current. The lemon juice helps the current move.
To help hit the concept home, we opened up the back of the TV remote and showed them some of the parts.
I bet they’ll never look at a lemon the same way again!