Jan 25, 2012

Science Fair Project - Jan 2012

Yes...unfortunately it is that "help your kid make the BEST science fair project ever." I survived this weekend working on the one with my son, and to attempt to make it easier for YOU, I'm sharing it. He had to "choose" what project he would attempt, and of course we went to the internet for some ideas. He made his "final choice" on Human Battery Power Science from this website. Don't scroll too much, if you want some ideas for yours, click on the link, and then go to the home page (okay, here is the HOME page of it).

The "point" of this one was listed as following (yeah, I copied and pasted it):


To demonstrate that a human body can be used as a battery by producing an electrical current.

Additional information

Batteries are devices that store chemical energy and convert it to electrical energy. Consisting of one or more voltaic cells, batteries come in various sizes and forms and are integrated into most electronic and portable devices. 

We studied the Required Materials list, and had to figure out where to get them. We found the copper and aluminum plates at Hobby Lobby ($12 total); the  0-15VDC meter  and the pre-wired alligator clips at Radio Shack (meter was $13, clips were $7, a franchise store carries more than company stores). I had lumber/wood in the garage so it didn't "cost" anything, but if had to price it out, it would be about $4.00 total. We went to Home Depot to get the plate mounting screws (stainless steel to prevent oxidation) since I wanted the least "conductive" ones & was fresh out of them (cost $2, and I actually used a $2 bill to pay).

So, we built it according to the directions. And conducted some personal tests. Here are the results:

When conducting the experiment as is listed on the website above, it will show the results you desire.
 If you "alter" the experiment a little, you will discover some more.
I recommend the "wet hands" version because we all know that water conducts more electricity.
Don't paint or stain the wood, since those components add a "variable of conductivity" into the experiment. Bare wood doesn't, and makes it all easier for you as a parent.
Mount the panels with a 1/4" overhang on the wood to connect the clips to.
PRACTICE  the presentation several times. Your scientist-to-be needs to be comfortable with what they are showing and presenting. 
Start the presentation by clipping a 9 volt battery, to demonstrate that the meter works. When you get to the "hands-on" part, you will show that the electricity reading is less, but the audience knows that the meter works.

Bottom line, by using an analog meter (NOT digital) impacts observers more, and I learned that the human body can generate an electric charge of about .5 volt DC charge....

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