About the Holiday
While not an official holiday, National Battery Day is a great time to think about how these small, ubiquitous power cells have changed and improved our lives, allowing us to take our gadgets and our necessities wherever we go. Batteries themselves may be relatively new, but the idea may have been around for 2,000 years. In 1936 archaeologist Wilhelm Konig unearthed a clay jar from a Parthian tomb that held an iron rod encased in copper that may have been used to electroplate gold onto silver.
It was Benjamin Franklin (of course it was!) who coined the term “battery” in 1748 to describe an array of charged glass plates. The word “volt” or a battery’s electric potential comes from Alessandro Volta, who in 1800 generated electrical current by layering silver, a material soaked in salt or acid, and zinc. William Cruickshank, an English chemist, advanced this method, and in 1802 created a battery for mass production. The first commercially available battery was introduced in 1896 by the company now known as Eveready, and we were off and charging!
It’s Electric Series: Using Batteries
By Chris Oxlade
Batteries—those things that make our our cars run, our TV remotes change channels, our little book lights glow, and so much more—are part of our lives from the very beginning, when they’re required (but not included) for our favorite toys. But how many of us really know how they work? This little book explains to children in simple and easily understood language how batteries store and use electricity to fuel many of the world’s machines and gadgets.
Large photographs accompany the text and clearly demonstrate the concepts. Children will learn about using batteries, how batteries work in circuits, the different battery shapes and sizes, battery materials, rechargeable batteries, battery safety, portable power, and more!
For kids interested in electricity – and batteries in particular – theIt’s Electric series of books is a great place to start learning!
Battery Day Activity
Connect the Battery Puzzle
Hmmm…The flashlight, watch, video game controller, and smoke detector are all broken! Can you find which battery goes into which object to make them work again? Print out the Connect the Battery puzzle here.