Science project

Build a Paper Circuit


In this experiment, you will be making your own paper flashlight by conducting electricty with graphite.

Research Questions:

  • What metals are best for conducting electricity?
  • Why is graphite not the best conductor?
  • Why is it that the closer the alligator clip is to the light, the brighter it becomes?


  • 2 alligator clips and wires
  • LED Light
  • Graphite pencil
  • Thick piece of paper
  • 9V battery
  • Electrical tape

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Attach one wire to the negative on the 9V battery.
  2. Attach the other wire to the positive on the 9V battery.
  3. Take the graphite pencil and draw a thick line about 3 inches long.
  4. Take the negative alligator clip and clip it to one LED wire.
  5. Take the positive alligator clip and touch it to the graphite line. If done correctly, the LED light should light up.
  6. Drag the clip closer and farther from the LED. Observe what happens.
  7. You may experiment with different lengths and lines to make the paper circuit.

Concepts: electricity, conductors, resistors, insulators

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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