First Circuits

Eli Whitney Museum

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2021 Summer Program

Humans have always recognized electricity in lightning bolts and fur that crackles when stroked. But the practical uses of electricity - circuits - have been discovered mostly from Eli Whitney's time to the present in simple experiments and creative accidents.

Experiment to learn:

draw electricity from copper and zinc with a lemon.
make a compass needle sway with a wire and battery
make magnets spin with a coil
make sparks
make the dots and dashes of a code travel distances
make a motor spin and reverse in an electric car
make an electromagnet lift, carry, then let go.
make a magnet reproduce the vibrations of your voice at a distance.
make a propeller push a boat
heat a wire to make light
power a chip to make light with less heat and more colors
draw circles with light
build a vibrobot to move in a vibrant dance

Each day create new purposes for these basic experiments because that is the way invention begins.

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