The Lemon Clock

In the never-ending search for fun activities to keep young kids busy, it’s always a great feeling to find something that keeps them entertained while teaching them something constructive in the process! This simple and fun Lemon Clock fits the bill perfectly.

You can easily make a DIY version of the same idea at home, but we opted for buying a kit which included all the little things we needed- here’s the version we tried: http://www.mastermindtoys.com/4M-Lemon-Clock-Kit.aspx

WHAT WE DID– The idea for this experiment was to use the lemon as the “battery” for the clock. We inserted a copper plate and a zinc plate in each of the lemons and connected the wires from the clock to each of the electrodes as pictured below. When everything was connected properly the clock came to life!

 

HOW IT WORKS– The copper plates act like the positive electrodes of a battery. They are plated with a metal which is less reactive than zinc. When the copper plates and zinc plates are inserted into the lemon, a chemical reaction takes place. Electrons (extremely small particles with negative charge) move from the zinc plates to the copper plates to form a current, thus activating the LCD watch. The lemon juice helps to conduct electricity.

We also tried replacing the lemon with a potato and a soft drink to see what effect this had. (Hint- they worked as conductors as well!)

This activity managed to captivate a 4-year old for over 30 minutes, which was a pretty amazing feat- try it out at home with your little one and let us know how it goes!

P.S.-After we finished with our clock, we learned a little something else about lemons as well 😉

LemonClock-1

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2 Comments On “The Lemon Clock”

  1. Saw this post – awesome! Great experiments/summer fun.

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