As part of our Juniors’ Get Moving Journey, we learned how electricity and circuits worked.
We had a dad who was into circuitry who taught our girls about circuits and electricity, then led them in building their own flashlights from recycled materials.
(Unfortunately, we found a few errors in the original document found on the destember website, so I’m listing the full adapted directions below.) This project will likely take about 60-75 minutes to complete, depending on the size of the group.
Making homemade flashlights
- 1 Empty toilet paper roll
- 1 Flashlight bulb
- 1 Paper or plastic cup – 3 oz.
- 2 Brads
- 2 D-cell batteries (Hint: Save your troop money and buy larger packages of batteries. This 12-Pack of batteries is just over $1 per battery and is Prime eligible! .)
- Paper clips
- 3 pieces of insulated wire, 4- to 5-inches long, with 1/2 inch of the ends stripped off. (We stripped one end of each for time purposes but let the girls try stripping the rest of the wire on their own.)
- Scrap cardboard
- Electrical tape
- Masking tape
- Wire cutters/strippers (recommend more than one pair if you have more than 5-6 girls)
- Take the 2 D-cell batteries and tape them end to end using electrical tape. Make sure the negative terminal of one battery is taped to the positive terminal of the second battery.
- Poke two holes in the side of the cardboard tube about one and one half inch apart. Stick one brad through each hole.
- Place a paper clip securely under the top of one of the brads. Press the brad firmly against the cardboard tube.
- Cut the tube so that it can unroll. Wrap one wire around each brad, and then press the brads open to secure the wires in place.
- Place the two batteries inside the cardboard tube.
- Tape the loose end of one of the wires to the negative terminal of the batteries. Roll the cardboard together to remake the tube. Tape the tube together. The loose end of the second wire should stick out of the end of the tube where the positive terminal of the battery is located.
- Wrap the stripped end of the wire around the base of the light bulb. Tape it in place using a narrow strip of electrical tape
- Cut out a circle from a piece of cardboard that fits over the end of the flash light. This is the light bulb holder. Heavy cardboard will help secure the light bulb in place.
- Poke a hole through the middle of the light bulb holder large enough to stick the bulb through. Stick the light bulb through the hole.
- Press the light bulb holder firmly onto the flashlight so that the bottom of the light bulb makes contact with the positive terminal.
- Tape the light bulb holder to the flashlight with strong tape. The bulb may move around a little, but will light if secured firmly in place.
- Take a paper cup and poke a hole in the bottom large enough to fit the light bulb through. Place the cup over the end of the flashlight to help direct the light. Tape the paper cup in place.
- Touch the paper clip to the second brad to test the flashlight. Make necessary adjustments.
Adapt this: Our dad suggested we could use paper towel rolls and 3 D batteries for a stronger charge.
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