Science project

Make a Rheostat

  1. Cut the 16 inch wire in half and attach each piece to the open end of the joined batteries.
  2. Connect the free end of one wire to one terminal of the light socket. Connect the other free wire to one end of the spring.
  3. Connect the two-inch long wire to the other terminal of the light socket.

  1. Connect the wire coming off the terminal to the end of the end where the other wire is. Watch how brightly the bulb glows.
  2. Now slowly move the short wire down the length of the spring. What happens?

What you'll discover!

As you go further away from the end where the wire is attached to the spring, the light will get dimmer and dimmer. The steel wire in the spring is not a very good conductor of electricity. The more wire the electricity has to pass through the more resistance there is and the less electricity. What you've made is called a rheostat. This is a device to vary the amount of a current passing through it to complete a circuit.

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