Chemistry | Physics | Technology

Pedagogic content

  • Sustainable development
  • Biomass energy
  • Energy chain


Students should know that most batteries are composed of two different metals that react with an acid to produce electricity.

New competencies targeted


  • Mobilize reasoning about sources of energy
  • Understand how energy transmission work



Teacher will prepare the necessary technical equipment (to be found in the DIY shop): electric wires, copper coins, sandpaper, zinc nails, LED bulb, and potatoes.


Lightly sand coins and nails with sandpaper. Students must ensure that the equipment is clean so as not to interfere with electrical traffic.


Then, they place a coin and a nail in each potato (in half only). Connect by means of a clamp cable the piece and the nail of two different potatoes.


Connect the two ends of the cable to the bulb. Bind the potatoes to each other using electric wires, passing from the tips (zinc) to the coin (copper) When the copper parts (positive pole) and zinc nails (negative pole) are placed in the potato, a chemical reaction in the juice of the potato produces electricity.


Throw the potato at the end of the experiment.


Let’s the teacher conclude about biomass energy.

Additional Info

Type of Activity: Experimental activities
Target Audience: From 11 years old
Place: Classroom, Laboratory
Material need: Potatoes
electric wires
copper coins
zinc nails
LED bulb
Duration of Activity: IMPLEMENTATION:

1 - 2 hours

Authorship and ressources conditions to use: PANDA-club; Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg No authorization or registration required
Note by Author:

The connection of the light emitting diode to a single potato will not allow it to be started because a single potato does not have the electrical power to operate the diode. Be careful to respect polarity.  This experiment is also possible with other vegetables or fruits and some sparkling drinks. An acid liquid is necessary to pass the current (from positive pole to negative pole).

Topic of this Experiences: Energy: Production and resources
Additional resources: Pdf Version