Make a Simple Switch


Welcome back, friends! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. We had fun around here. We were blessed to have the opportunity to try a new snack and pick up some delicious coffee to try for some sponsored posts this past weekend. And… we got the worm bin we’ve been waiting for, and are looking forward to sharing an ecology unit with you next week.

Today, though, we’re back with the second half of the 10 Days of Electricity and Magnetism, part of the iHomeschool Network’s Spring Hopscotch.


10 Days of Electricity and Magnetism


On Friday, we talked about simple circuits using everyday materials. Your kids now know that a circuit is a circular path through which electricity flows unbroken. Now, we’re going to take that simple circuit and add a switch.

When your kids experiment with batteries, wires, and bulbs, they learn that a current of electricity needs a power source. Batteries provide a direct current {DC}, while electrical outlets provide alternating currents {AC}. If the current of electricity running along the circuit is broken for any reason, items {like flashlights, lamps, computers, and televisions} will not work.

Switches allow us to break the circuit to stop the flow of electricity – and turn things off. While inexpensive switches are available online on Amazon or other retailers, basic switches can be made with simple materials at home, too.


Make a Simple Switch


Have your child try adding a switch to the circuit he or she made in the last activity.

You’ll need:

  • a switch {usually under $2} or:
    • small piece of wood or cardboard
    • two metal thumbtacks
    • large metal paperclip
  • three pieces of wire
  • bulb and bulb holder
  • D battery and battery holder

Try it this way:

  1. Insert the battery and bulb into their holders.
  2. Connect one wire between the bulb holder and one end of the battery holder.
  3. Connect another wire to the other end of the battery.
  4. If you are making your own switch, lay the paperclip on the cardboard or wood, push a thumbtack through it, securing it to the board, and push the other thumbtack into the board across from the first so that the paperclip can be rotated to touch both, creating a metal path for electricity to travel.
  5. Wrap the other end of the wire on the battery holder to one side of your switch.
  6. Connect the last wire between the switch and the bulb holder.
  7. Light the bulb by closing the switch so the electricity can flow through an unbroken current. Turn the bulb off by lifting the switch.


electrical switches


Now that you’ve introduced switches to the mix, let your child play some more. How many bulbs can be lit by a single battery? How bright can he or she make the bulb light up? Need supplies? Click below {affiliate links} to order some for really cheap on Amazon. Widgets


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Having fun? Come back tomorrow to explore conductors and insulators. Meanwhile, check out some of the other hopscotch bloggers like Lauren who is sharing 10 Days of US Presidents and Marianne who shares about homeschooling a large family.