Student Features

Rain Sensor
Student Section

Drawing of a simple circuit with wire in a rectangle shape, includes a switch, battery and light bulb
Materials:
  • Six-volt lantern battery
  • Wire
  • Six-volt light bulb and socket
  • Small piece of wood [4 inch (in) by 4 in, or 10 centimeters (cm) by 10 cm]
  • Thumbtacks
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
Image to right: This shows a simple circuit with a switch. Credit: NASA

Procedure:
Drawing of a sensor with two rectangles of foil placed side by side vertically (but not touching) with thumbtacks at the four corners of each piece of foil
  1. Cut two rectangles of foil the same size. They should both fit on the block of wood without overlapping.


  2. Image to right: Use this layout to build a sensor. Credit: NASA

  3. Tack them to the wood. Their edges should be as close as you can get them without touching!


  4. Place another thumbtack in the middle of each piece of foil with the bare end of a wire twisted around the tack.


  5. Connect one wire to one terminal of the light bulb holder.


  6. Wire the other terminal of the light bulb holder to the battery.


  7. Drawing of a simple circuit with wire in a rectangle shape, includes a sensor, battery and light bulb
  8. Attach the remaining wire from your sensor to the battery. Your circuit is complete!


  9. To test your circuit, use a paper clip to connect the two foil panels. The light should come on. If it does not, check your circuit with the diagram. Make sure all your wires are well connected.


  10. Image to right: This shows a simple circuit with a sensor. Credit: NASA

  11. Your teacher will test the circuit by simulating rainfall with a spray bottle filled with water.