Making a Potato Powered Light Bulb Kiddos and Pups

Making a Potato Powered Light Bulb

Tomorrow I am going to lead the Sunday School Class for the preschool – 3rd grade students.  I do this every other week, and I really enjoy it, even though I definitely do not have time for it.  I really want the kids to get a lot out of this program, so I put as much as I can into it.  We are going to start the school year out with Genesis, talking about how God made the world.  I have a have several fun plans for the day, but being a former science teacher, I can’t wait to make a potato cell to make a light shine.  I picked this project as a way to symbolize God saying, “Let There Be Light!”  I think it will be cool.  I am going to leave the directions on how to do this project on here, and show you the pictures of my attempt here at home before I do it in the classroom just because it is something you can do with your own kids and have a ball with!  Kids love science projects like this!

Making a Potato Powered Light Bulb


  • A large potato
  • Two pennies
  • Two zinc-plated nails or screws
  • Three pieces of copper wire
  • A very small light bulb or LED light

1)  Get a potato and cut it in half.  Then make a small slit in each half just big enough to put a penny into.

Click to enlarge the image.






2)  Cut two pieces of copper wire and wrap one around one of the pennies a few times, and wrap the other one around the other penny a few times as well.

Click to enlarge the image.







3)  Take a third piece of copper wire, and wrap it around one of the zinc-plated nails or screws, and then place the nail or screw into one of the potatoes.

Click to enlarge the image.







4)  Now take the wire attached to the penny in the potato that also contains the nail or screw, and wrap it around the second nail or screw.  Then take that second nail or screw and place it into the other potato half.

Click to enlarge the image.







5)  Now here is the fun part:  Attached the two loose ends of copper wire to the LED light bulb, and…Let there be light!






Now, I tried this at the same time as I was writing this, and to my chagrin, it hasn’t worked. I am pretty sure that is because the light bulb I had was broken as I tried to extract it from the night light it was in.  I hope that it works better tomorrow, but if not, I will have to just tell the kids what they should already know…I am not God!  :)


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Categories: Projects To Do With Kids | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Making a Potato Powered Light Bulb

  1. so how in the world do you hook the light bulb to the potato? iam doing this for a science experiment so please email me before the end of the week. have a nice day :)

    • Oh no! I checked this too late. My fault. Well, the answer is to use a light bulb that you can find in some of those flashlights you can get at party stores for about 50 cents or so. Or any other light bulb that has copper wires sticking out of each end. If you are using a regular bulb, I would say you would want to wrap the wires around the bottom of the bulb, you know, the ribbed portion that you screw into the socket, but make sure they are also touching the bottom of it. I would double check that last part, as I did not research it first, but I am pretty sure that is how it would work. Let me know what you find! I hope your project worked out!


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