Conductor Test

Build your own conductor tester and check what objects around your home are conductors or insulators.


things you will need

  • Play dough (shop bought or make your own)
  • 1 x LED
  • 1 x 4 AA battery pack (plus batteries)
  • Items to test

safety notice

  • Always ask a grown-up for help with batteries.
  • Always make sure battery packs are in the OFF position when not in use. Batteries and circuits can get hot and cause fires. 
  • Never connect a LED directly to the battery. The voltage will be too much for the little LED and it will pop.
  • LEDs have pointy legs and can be sharp. 

Prepare the dough

Roll out the dough into two pieces roughly the same size.


Connect to the battery pack

  • Place the red wire from the battery pack into one dough roll.
  • Place the black wire into the remaining dough roll.

Test the circuit

  • Take one LED and separate the legs.
  • Place the longer leg of the LED into the dough roll connected to red wire. 
  • Place the shorter leg of the LED into the dough roll connected to the black wire.
  • Turn ON the battery pack and watch your LED light up.

Break the circuit

  • Divide the dough roll connected to the black wire into two equal sections.
  • Create a small gap between the two sections.

Test for conductivity

  • Your conductor tester is now ready to go.
  • Place your first item between the two dough sections connected to the black wire.
  • Press the item into both dough sections to ensure you make a complete circuit.
  • If the LED lights up, the object is a conductor.
  • If the LED does not light up, the object is an insulator.

Keep experimenting

Try the test on other objects (with permission from grown-ups) around the house.

Do any surprise you?

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