How to make a simple switch

We know from our play dough circuits that the circuit needs to be complete for electricity to flow, but we usually want to be able to control whether electricity flows or not. This can be done using a simple switch.

How to make a simple switch

The basic circuit below has a switch made using a small piece of paper and 2 paper clips to break the flow of electricity which allows the bulb to be turned on and off.


Crocodile leads

Screw light bubls

Light bulb holders

AA battery holder with leads


2 paperclips

We bought our circuit equipment from TTS.

Make a simple switch


Cut out a small rectangle shape from the paper and attach a paperclip to each end.

simple switch


Set up your circuit like the one below. You should find the bulb only lights up when the paperclips touch. This is because the metal paperclips do conduct electricity but the paper does not.

Make a simple switch

Make a simple switch

Metals are good conductors of electricity , so wires are made from copper, which has the added advantage that it can be stretched thin without breaking. The wires you use are covered in a coat of plastic for safety which does not conduct electricity.

Extension Tasks

Can you add an extra bulb to your circuit? What do you notice?

make a simple switch

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