One of our favorite things about Christmas is the lights. So, this Christmas lights STEM activity was fun and lead to more Christmas activities, like this one which included a lesson on circuitry.
No other holiday uses lights as decorations like Christmas. People decorate everything from trees to houses to fences to businesses in beautiful lights.
In our house, it’s always the great debate between white and multi-colored lights on the tree. I have a “pretty” tree with coordinating ornaments that I add white lights to, while the kids have their tree with all the ornaments they have made over the years and have collected that they decorate with multi-colored lights. Both trees are beautiful, but I prefer my white lights and the kids like their colored lights.
We took our fascination with lights and came up with a fun Christmas STEM activity. Through previous projects, the kids learned that aluminum foil is a good conductor of electricity. We wandered if we could make a mini-string of lights using the foil, some LED replacement Christmas lights, a 9 volt battery, and a battery connector.
Related post: Christmas STEM Activities
First, we took the green plastic off of the lights and were left with just the bulb and the wires. Then, we rolled strips of foil into smaller “wires” crimping the ends to hold the bulb wires.
Using a 9 volt battery connector, we attached a wire from the connector to each end of our string. This completes the electrical circuit. (After doing this project, I wished we had THIS kind of connector with the alligator clips. It would have been much easier.)
We experimented with different numbers of lights in our string and found that for a 9 volt battery three was the optimum number of lights. Four would light up, but they were very dim.
This activity made us wonder. Would the number of lights be different if we used traditional Christmas lights instead of LED? How many lights could we illuminate using a different type of battery?
Why don’t you try and let us know?!