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written by David Katz
This is a set of five lab guides for constructing various types of batteries: 1) voltaic pile, 2) electrochemical cell, 3) lemon cell, 4) storage cell, and 5) a zinc-carbon dry cell battery. It was developed by David Katz, chemistry instructor and author of Chemistry in the Toy Store. For grades 4-8, the voltaic pile experiment and the lemon cell would be most appropriate, as there are no safety hazards.

Safety Precautions The electrochemical cell and the storage call use sulfuric acid, which is corrosive. The zinc-carbon dry cell battery uses zinc chloride, which is a skin and eye irritant.

This item is part of a much larger collection of resources that include lesson plans for K-12, labs and hands-on activities, authentic assessments, projects spanning several days, and detailed guides for demonstrations.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromotive Force and Current
= Cells and Batteries
- High School
- Middle School
- Elementary School
- Informal Education
- Collection
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Demonstration
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Laboratory
- Assessment
- New teachers
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© 2002 David Katz
battery labs, electricity labs, lemon battery, voltaic battery, voltaic battery lab, zinc-carbon battery
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 26, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
May 26, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 17, 2009

This resource is part of 3 Physics Front Topical Units.

Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Teaching About Electricity in the Middle Grades

This is a set of 5 creative labs on different types of batteries/electric cells. Two of them would be excellent choices for middle school. One lab replicates Alessandro Volta's historic experiments to construct the world's first electric battery: the voltaic pile. This experiment can be easily done in the classroom. The lemon cell is another good choice, using the acid from a lemon to increase conductivity between two metal strips.

Links to Units:

Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Applying Concepts of Electricity

A set of 5 creative labs for constructing various types of primary battery cells, all appropriate for use in the high school science classroom. Two of the labs can be performed without corrosive chemicals: the voltaic pile and the lemon cell. The remaining 3 labs use either sulfuric acid or zinc chloride. Each lab contains detailed information on safety precautions and classroom set-up.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Electricity: A Historical Perspective

If you'd like your students to replicate Volta's groundbreaking experiment with the voltaic pile device (the world's first battery), here is a lesson plan (scroll down to Page 2 of the document). They will construct their own voltaic pile batteries and get a better understanding of how electrochemical reactions work. No harsh chemicals or safety hazards.

Link to Unit:
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AIP Format
D. Katz, (2002), WWW Document, (http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf).
D. Katz, Chymist.com: Batteries, (2002), <http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf>.
APA Format
Katz, D. (2009, June 17). Chymist.com: Batteries. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf
Chicago Format
Katz, David. Chymist.com: Batteries. June 17, 2009. http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf (accessed 18 January 2017).
MLA Format
Katz, David. Chymist.com: Batteries. 2002. 17 June 2009. 18 Jan. 2017 <http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "David Katz", Title = {Chymist.com: Batteries}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {18 January 2017}, Month = {June 17, 2009}, Year = {2002} }
Refer Export Format

%A David Katz
%T Chymist.com: Batteries
%D June 17, 2009
%U http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Katz, David
%D June 17, 2009
%T Chymist.com: Batteries
%V 2017
%N 18 January 2017
%8 June 17, 2009
%9 application/pdf
%U http://www.chymist.com/batteries.pdf

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Chymist.com: Batteries:

Covers the Same Topic As Magnet Academy: Interactive Tutorials - Voltaic Pile

An interactive simulation of the historic voltaic pile device used by Volta in his 18th-century experiments.

relation by Caroline Hall

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