Did you know that graphite conducts electricity? Neither did Travis and I until we set out to light up an LED bulb with a 9V battery. You can create some serious wow factor with this easy STEM project; even grown-ups might be amazed!
Make sure you have graphite pencils or the project won’t work; check the art section of the craft store, not the kids’ section, to be sure.
On our first try, we drew a bus shape for our circuit. Be sure to leave two gaps, about 1 cm wide, on each side of your drawing. Label them + and – as well. Travis loved making our graphite line nice and thick, and added bus windows.
Tape the LED light down on one side of the gap, aligning + to + and – to – and making sure the two filaments are firmly on the graphite line. (Note: the longer end of the LED is positive).
Now place the 9V battery upside down across the other gap, making sure the + and – nodes align once more.
Hmm… our light didn’t light up!
We did a little research and found out that the longer your graphite drawing, the less strong the current will be that reaches the bulb. So we made a very small rectangle and tried again.
And success! Travis was thrilled when we saw it light up.