STEM Activity: Light Up Rudolph’s Nose
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has lost his glow and needs your help to light up his nose this holiday season! Learn about the science behind circuits in this holiday-themed electrical circuit activity.
- Holiday lights (old)
- Coin battery or AA battery
- Duct tape (optional)
- Electrical tape or masking tape
- Image of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Recyclables (optional)
With an adult’s help, find a large image of Rudolph online and print it out. Use thick paper or tape the image to a sheet of cardboard. Ask an adult for a set of old holiday lights that can be cut. Then, with their help, cut the wire on either side of one red light bulb as close to the neighboring bulbs as possible so that you leave a long length of wire attached on both ends of the light bulb you will be using. Using scissors, strip the ends of the wire, removing the rubber casing and exposing the wire strands. Place one exposed wire on one side of a coin battery or AA battery, and the other wire on the opposite side of the battery. The bulb should light up! If it does not, reverse the wires so they touch the opposite sides of the battery than they were previously touching. Once lit, secure the wires to the battery using electrical or masking tape. Poke the red light through the nose on the Rudolph image and secure it with tape. Alternatively, use cardboard and other recyclables to create a 3D figure of Rudolph and attach the light to the figure’s nose. Congratulations, you just made a circuit to help Rudolph get his glow back!
Educators: Use this activity in the classroom with these modifications!
You can also use old strings of holiday lights, but if you prefer, you can use two-pin LED lights such as these.
What are we learning?
The word circuit and circle sound alike! A circuit is a circle that allows energy to move freely in it, from a power source, like a battery, to an object that is made to work by that power source, like a light bulb, and back to the power source. Many power sources have two sides — a positive side and a negative side. Electricity always flows through the circuit from the positive side to the negative side, never from the negative to the positive. That is why it is important to make sure you insert batteries matching the positive end to positive in a battery compartment and negative to negative! Discovering how to make circuits can power your imagination in so many new ways! Walk around your house or school and search for items that use circuits. Then, think about new inventions that you could create using circuits.
Looking for more STEM activities?
Check out more exciting holiday-themed STEM activities on our blog or our Camp Invention Facebook page. We would love to hear about your favorite activities – share photos and your feedback with a guest post on our Facebook page!