Conductor or Insulator - Using Makey Makey to Explore Conductivity

A great way to introduce students to circuits and electricity is by using Makey Makeys to test if different materials are conductive or not. We recently visited a 2nd and 4th grade class to teach them about circuits and conductivity. Both classes had a great time with the activity and learned a lot.

The lesson started with an explanation of circuits, conductors and insulators. Once the students understood these concepts, they were given a Makey Makey and got to build banana pianos, which was a huge hit.

From there, we challenged the students to test different objects to find out if they were conductors or insulators. We brought along a box of materials not commonly found in the classroom, but also challenged the students to test different things they found around the room. This was easily a highlight of the day for many students as their eyes lit up in wonder with each new discovery.

Makey Makey with conductive materials

For anyone looking to have their students test different materials for conductivity, here is a short list of what we found that day.

Conductors Insulators

Fruit - bananas, citrus, apples
Wet sponge
Pencil lead
Water beads
Metal - foil, coins, paper clips, etc.

Dry sponge
Plastic - chairs, blocks, etc.
Rubber - erasers

What are your favorite conductive /non-conductive materials to experiment with?

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