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ACTIVITY in Electricity, Interdisciplinary, Atoms, Culminating Project, Electrons, Electrons. Last updated July 11, 2018.


In this activity, students will learn that the flow of electrons within a closed circuit make our lives easier. Students will construct a circuit quiz box that lights up when the correct question and answer are chosen.

Grade Level

Elementary or middle school


  • Students will understand how a closed circuit works.
  • Students will be able to create a working closed circuit.

Chemistry Topics

  • Atoms
  • Electrons
  • Electricity


Teacher Preparation: 30 minutes

Lesson: Three 45 minute classes


(Listed per student or group)

  • Empty cake mix box
  • Print out of the Circuit Template
  • 9 volt battery
  • Miniature Christmas tree light bulbs, stripped at each end (use quality lights for less stress)
  • Three 8” pieces of wire, stripped
  • 5 strips of aluminum foil (cut to 0.5 inch by 6 inches)
  • Roll of masking tape
  • Roll of electrical tape (make sure it is sticky)
  • Duct Tape
  • Clear tape
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Card stock paper


  • Teacher should review previously taught lessons about the danger of open wires and electricity.
  • Inform students that stripped wires can become hot, and should not be touched.
  • When students complete the lab, instruct them how to clean up their materials.
  • Corroded batteries should be discarded. The contents of batteries are potentially hazardous, do not put batteries in the trash; they should be recycled according to your the regulations in your area.

Teacher Notes

  • This is the final project of a unit on Electricity so prior knowledge is expected of how electrons flow, batteries work and differentiating between an open and closed circuit.
  • The website BrainPOP offers great visuals on electricity, especially closed circuits. There are also quiz questions and activities on the website.
  • Start collecting empty cake mix boxes a few weeks before the project.
  • I put the “Circuit Quiz” template in our shared folder at school so it is easily accessible by the students, and they can type their questions and answers into the template.
  • Discuss with the students topics for the quiz board questions and answers (identifying colleges with their mascots, translating Spanish to English words, history facts, science vocabulary, etc).
  • Ask students to have their questions and answers prepared before the project starts, and submit them for approval prior to typing them into the template.
  • I return the draft and have them type their final questions and answers on the “Circuit Quiz” template. Print the final template onto CARDSTOCK (regular printer paper is too thin/transparent so it will show how the circuit flows).
  • As students assemble the box have them continually check that their wired connections are working.
  • Discussion possibilities:
    • Why does the bulb light when the right question and answer are touched by two wires?
    • How can you use the same board for other sets of questions and answers?
    • Why is the masking tape so important?
    • How is this quiz board like the wiring in a house?
  • Extension possibilities:
    • Design a circuit quiz box that uses a buzzer instead of a light.
    • Design a way to change the questions and answers on the quiz box easily.

For the Student

Lesson 1: Data for Closed Circuit Quiz Box


  • Sample Quiz Box
  • Print out of the “Circuit Quiz Template”
  • Card Stock paper


  1. Your teacher will show you a sample quiz box and demonstrate how it works. You will be building a similar box. What questions do you have about how the quiz box works? Write them below to discuss with your class:
  2. Create five questions with answers to be used for your own quiz box. Write your questions and answers below.
  3. Show your questions to your teacher for approval before going on to the next step.
  4. On a blank copy of the “Circuit Quiz template” write your questions in the left column. Next change the order of the answers and copy them in the right column.
  5. You are now ready to type your questions and answers on to the “Circuit Quiz template.”
  6. When completed, print your template on cardstock paper.

Lesson 2: Build Electric Circuit Box


  • Empty cake mix box
  • 9 volt battery
  • Miniature Christmas tree light bulbs, stripped at each end (use quality lights for less stress)
  • Three 8” pieces of wire, stripped
  • 5 strips of aluminum foil (cut to 0.5 inch by 6 inches)
  • Roll of masking tape
  • Roll of electrical tape (make sure it is sticky)
  • Duct Tape
  • Clear tape
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors


  1. Collect a 9 volt battery, Christmas tree light bulbs, wires and electrical tape. Tape a long wire to the negative (flat) end of the battery cell. Then tape one end of the wire from the light to the positive end of the battery cell. To help ensure good contact, cover the end of the battery with electrical tape. Then add an 8 inch extension to both wires. The extensions will ensure the wires are long enough to reach all quiz questions. (See picture on right)

  2. Collect a cake box and open it from its original shape to make the largest possible flat surface.
  1. Use the Circuit Quiz Template to line up where to punch the top three holes in the cake mix box. Three holes are needed: the middle one is for the bulb, and one on each side of it for the wires. (See picture on right)

  2. Tape the battery and wires to the inside of the box.
  1. Close the box and cover it with colorful duct tape.

  2. Take your final Circuit Quiz Template and use a hole punch to make a hole next to each question and a hole next to each answer (use the holes on the template for guidance.)

  3. Turn over the Circuit Quiz Template and draw lines from the hole for each question to the hole for the matching answer. These will be guidelines for the foil strips. (See picture on right)

  4. Collect five aluminum foil strips, scissors and masking tape. Place a foil strip over each line that was drawn for guidance so that the foil extends beyond the hole. Trim as necessary; then place masking tape on top of the foil strip and completely cover it to make sure no foil is showing. Repeat this process until all foil strips have been placed and taped. When taping is finished, no foil should be visible except from the front through the holes.

  5. Gently put the completed circuit board on the front of the box. Insert the bulb and the wires through the holes in the cardstock. Tape (with clear tape) the template to the covered box, making sure you don’t cover any of the foil holes next to the questions or answers.

Lesson 3: Share Electric Circuit Box


  1. Find a partner and play your Circuit Box quiz with him/her.
  2. When finished, switch roles and play the Circuit Box quiz that your partner created.
  3. Find a new partner and complete steps 1 and 2 again!