Battery challenge winners

Above, from left, Kaitlin Anderson, Skye Deal and Gavin Hall were the winning eighth-grade students who created a battery that produced 82.4 volts of electricity. Photo courtesy of Frankie Urquhart

Using only household items, about 50 Schoenbar Middle School students powered through a challenge to create working batteries from household objects in Frankie Urquhart's science classroom.

Speaking to the Daily News by phone on Tuesday morning, Urquhart said that the contest is an annual affair for her eighth-grade science students.

"We have been studying electricity, and different kinds of circuits and parallel circuits," Urquhart said, noting that the study has spanned across three weeks. "The battery project was the culminating project to see how much they really learned about electricity."

"So the goal was, they had to construct a battery from household supplies and grocery store supplies," she added.

To pass the assignment — and be entered into the contest — the students had to work in pairs to create a battery that produced at least 3.0 volts of electricity.

"Everybody always gets 3.0 volts," Urquhart noted.

The students were limited to using only three fruits or vegetables in their creation, with the most popular choice being a lemon or a grapefruit.

"This year there were some interesting ones, like bananas and apples," Urquhart said.

And, students made use of techniques to maximize the voltages that could be produced using the allowable number of fruits or vegetables.

The class was only allowed to work on their batteries in Urquhart's class, and the contest spanned over four class periods, according to Urquhart.

The batteries with the highest voltages were awarded medals for first, second and third place.

The trio of Gavin Hall, Skye Deal and Kaitlin Anderson won first place with their battery that produced 82.4 volts.

Divisha Jagtianti, Mylee Gray and Shyla Abajian came in second place with a battery that produced 48.0 volts.

With 33.9 volts from their battery, Michael Rene, Plato Ruppert and Jason Lorig took third place.

"The students really enjoy it," Urquhart said. "I tell them that it's one of those projects where they're going to get super frustrated because they have to figure things out on their own, but once they get through and figure it out, it's one of the most rewarding projects."

"And they don't all believe me in the beginning," Urquhart continued. "And then after we're done, they usually agree that, yeah ... it was really great to feel accomplished."