Physics With Kids: How to Make a Galvanometer

galvonometerA galvanometer is an instrument that detects electrical current. You can easily make one at home with items you may have lying around your house.   All you need is a match box (or other small box) that is large enough to house a compass, a compass, tinfoil, and a D battery.

DSC_1370Begin by cutting 1 yard of tin foil.

DSC_1371Next, fold it repeatedly until you have a narrow strip of tinfoil.

DSC_1372Place the compass in the box and wrap the tinfoil strip around the box several times. Let the ends hang from the box.

DSC_1373Take the ends and connect to the terminals of a D battery. Watch the needle of the compass move.  The battery emits electrons that run through the aluminum foil (your conductor).  When electrons move they create a magnetic field which moves the compass needle.