Lemon Battery Science Experiment

Lemon STEM is such a fun way to explore concepts of making a lemon battery and kid-made batteries, and this discovery activity is a powerful tool for promoting science and exploration in kids. Plus, this lemon science experiment is easy to do (and clean up)!

Lemon Battery

I am one of three sisters.  You might remember that this blog started out as a meeting place for us gals to share our ideas.  Well, times change and blogs change, but there is one thing that never changes:  sisters.  You grow up with them, you fight with them, you make some crazy funny memories with them, you grow up some more, and then you laugh at those memories. (And occasionally you laugh so hard you spit out water…causing more laughter.) 
There is one thing for certain.  Sisters have a bond that is like no other.  
So, when I became a mama to three little girls (and their super-chill brother), I was over the moon and back to watch these sisters grow just like I did with my two siblings.  Now that they are getting a little older, I can see my oldest nurture the younger ones and the little sisters look up to their big sis.  (And I won’t lie.  They fight.  Like Mom-wants-to-fly-back-to-the-moon-and-stay-there kind of fighting.)  But happily playing or fighting, they are sisters.
One thing I love to watch is when these girls play.  They’ve got some super sweet scenarios that happen on a daily basis.  Playtime in our house involves clipboards, checklists, tons of purses, glue, and the occasional microphone.  The big two have big imaginations and even bigger hearts and it is so fun to watch my youngest look up the them with wide eyes and take it all in.  
As a mom, I’ve noticed that my girls watch.  They watch what I do, they watch what each other does, and they notice.  So, when I had the opportunity to introduce them to lemon STEM activities, I jumped at the chance.  
Introduce them to creativity through STEM?  Sounds great! Encourage my children to get excited about science and math? YES! Unleash natural potential in my girls by experiencing science projects? I like it. 
Lemon STEM ideas for kids

And the best for me, was watching my girls do this together.  The baby saw her big sister in safety goggles as she learned about cathodes and electrolytes…and has been wearing the goggles every day since.  Seeing them inspire each other was just awesome.
We were making lemon powered batteries! 

What is a lemon battery?

A lemon battery is a simple science experiment kids can do to explore concepts of conduction and reaction. In the lemon-powered battery experiment, kids can see how electrolytes are conducted through the lemon and wires in order to power a light or clock. 
The experiment is simple set up, easy, and a fun way to explore science!

Lemon Science Experiment

When I first showed the girls the items and explained what we were doing, they were very excited about lemon electricity! I was surprised to read that only 1 in 1,000 girls pursue STEM careers, especially considering that out us us three sisters, two of us are in the health/science field.  Encouraging my girls to explore interests in science is important to me and I was super pumped to get my girls excited about our science experiment…and the enthusiasm was catchy!
We used a lemon in our fruit battery, but you could use any citrus fruit to make a citrus battery…oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes all work equally well in this kid-made battery experiment. 


Lemon STEM Ideas

We created the lemon-powered battery, but then used the battery in a STEM activity by adding engineering and math to the mix.
We pulled out all of the items in our lemon experiment box:
  • LED Bulb
  • 4 Lemons ( not included )
  • Alligator Clips
  • Zinc Nails 
  • Copper Wire (or a penny)
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Pin
  • wipes
  • Mini Clock
  • Recording sheet

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
And we got started on our STEM project.  The instructions were printed out with easy to follow images.  
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
First, we used the convenient wipes to swipe away a few of the the baby’s sticky crumbs from our dining room table.  (Sticky toddlers love science, too.)
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
  • Following the instructions, my eight year old build a lemon powered battery that lit up a light bulb.  We tried a few more experiments, like the mini fruit clock that came in the kit.  We used it to make a lemon clock!
  • We pulled out some bamboo skewers and created a sky high lemon battery and lit up the light bulbs using engineering in our STEM activity.
  • With all of the zinc nail-punctured holes in our lemons, we HAD to squeeze the juice.  We tried to see if we could create a lemon clock using just the lemon juice in a cup.  It worked!  
  • After the lemons were juiced, we tried to make another light bulb glow using the rinds.  This time the lights did not brighten and we decided it was because the electrolytes were squeezed away into our lemon juice and the current stopped at the rind.  
Next, we used wooden skewers to create a clock tower. Press the skewers into the lemons and create a tower. You’ll need to figure out how to get the clock tower to stand without toppling, and using lemons as the base or at the connecting points. These lemons can also be connected to one another with the alligator clips, wires, and pennies or nails to conduct through the whole tower. 
After all of these experiments, we were feeling a little thirsty.  Non-lemon powered light bulbs went off and so my four year old had a bright idea to make lemonade.  We added water and sugar and drank away the electrolytes!
It was so much fun to see my girls working together, encouraging each other, (not fighting), and being inspired in science.  Someday they might look back at our experiment day and laugh at drinking their science experiment, but I’ll remember the sticky crumbs on the table, the goggles on the one year old, and the fun we all had learning together.
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids


Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
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Lemon STEM activity