I teach at a charter school in Austin Texas. During lunch and recess (on rotating days) I host an engineering/maker group to encourage 2nd-4th graders to explore science, technology and engineering. On most days, my kids select a project from Instructables.com and build. Often, cost for materials and parts is an obstacle that has been financially challenging to overcome - even though the parents pay for components - cost in a low income school can be the difference between doing the project and not.
So I set out to create component items by re-purposing things normally found in the trash. This coin-cell battery holder is made from common items (bottle cap, paper clip and glue). The classroom advantage is that I am teaching my kids how to reuse, renew and recycle and not just talking from a lesson plan.
Step 1: Materials
Each one of my 22 engineers has their own tool box. Aside from the pliers, push pin, glue (not shown) and permanent marker, this project requires:
- 2 coin cell batteries
- 2 paper clips
- 1 soda or water bottle cap
- 1 LED (for testing)
Understand that this project is meant to be completed by 8 to 10 year old kids.
Step 2: Mark the Center of the Cap.
Step 3: Mark the Edge of the Cap.
Step 4: Poke Small Holes Through Marked Cap.
Ensure the kids are wearing safety glasses when handling any tools.
Step 5: Using Needle-nose Plyers, Straighten One-half of Paperclip.
Step 6: Roll Paperclip Around Plyers to Form a Crude Circle.
Step 7: Cut Paperclip in Half.
Step 8: Insert Paperclip Through Middle Hole.
Bend the paperclip flat so it can rest in the middle of the cap.
Step 9: Bend One Side of Paperclip Into a 90 Degree Angle.
Another way to explain 90 degree angle is using the letter L.
Again, with tools, ensure students are wearing safety goggles.
Step 10: Insert Bent Side of Paperclip Into One Side of Cap.
Step 11: Mark the Other End of the Paperclip Against the Cap.
Step 12: Bend the Paperclip Where Marked.
Bend in a 90 degree angle.
Step 13: Insert Paperclip Into Cap With Batteries.
Batteries go in positive side up.
Step 14: Bend Paperclip Ends to 90 Degree Angles.
Step 15: Mark the Ends Positive or Negative.
I used a 5v LED to test this as will my students.
This project can be used to meet education standards for stored energy (Science), basic electricity flow (Science), hands on manufacturing (Engineering) or part of using science to develop technology. (TEKS or Common Core).
The bonus for me as a teacher is that my engineers learn how to make something from virtually nothing. Projects such as this help our kids to think bigger, and open the possibility that anything can be engineered with some guidance and imagination.
Positive feedback and polite critiques are welcome as my kids will be reading this.
Use for projects requiring coin cell batteries.