Ward's World Activity Guides

A battery of hands-on science fun with this free Orange Clock activity

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Page 1 Orange Clock Recommended Grade Level(s): Appropriate for: All grade levels Time Requirements: Activity Time: 15 minutes Teaching Topics & Concepts: • Electrochemistry • Cell potential • Metal activity • Anode vs. Cathode Background: A battery uses chemical reactions to make electricity. The type of chemicals used depends on how the battery is made or being used. For example, alkaline batteries (or cells) are used in clocks, flashlights, remote controls, and toys. Alkaline cells use three main chemicals: zinc, manganese dioxide, and potassium hydroxide. The reaction between these chemicals moves tiny, negatively charged particles called "electrons" around to create an electric current. For example, when you connect the cell to a circuit — like a light bulb — the zinc inside reacts with the manganese dioxide and loses electrons. The electrons are collected by a metal rod inside the cell, which allows them to flow from the bottom of the cell (the negative terminal), through the wires to the bulb (making it light up), and then back into the top of the cell (the positive terminal). Students can illustrate several principles of batteries by using orange juice to power an electric clock. Materials: • Magnesium strip or ribbon • Copper strip • Orange juice • Steel wool (not a soap pad) • Electrical leads (with alligator clips) • Battery-powered clock (the variety that requires a single 1.5V AA battery) • 250 mL beaker + ward ' s science Safety • Read the SDS sheets for all chemicals before using them. • Wear safety glasses and gloves. • Magnesium metal is a flammable solid. Avoid contact with flames and heat. • Do not taste the orange juice! Any food-grade items that have been brought for lab use only. Do not taste or ingest any materials in the laboratory, and do not remove any remaining food items after they have been used in the lab. • Wear chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and a chemical-resistant apron. !

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