Science project

Building a Better Battery

How a battery can be made from everyday materials?


  • Paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pennies
  • Lemon juice
  • Dimes
  • Insulated wire
  • Nail
  • Compass


  1. Cut out small squares from the paper towels, each one one-inch square.
  2. Place a penny on the table.
  3. Soak a paper towel square in lemon juice and place it on top of the penny.
  4. Place a dime on top of the paper towel square.
  5. Continue this process to build a small tower that includes five pennies, five paper towel squares, and five dimes.
  6. Coil the middle portion of insulated wire around and around the nail, leaving both ends free.
  7. Touch one of the free ends to the top of the stack and another of the free ends to the bottom of the stack.
  8. Move the nail close to the compass. The needle on the compass should move. Measure exactly how far it moved. (You can also use a volt meter for this experiment for more accurate results. See if you can borrow one from a nearby science lab.)
  9. Build other towers using smaller stacks, larger stacks, and stacks using multiple paper towel squares between each layer. Which technique makes the needle move the farthest? Why do you think this may be?
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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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