Assault on Batteries!

Can you charge a cell phone with a homemade battery?

Project Description

Teams will research the history of the battery and acquire the background knowledge required to build their own battery from ordinary household items. They will record their work as they follow the Engineering Design process of plan, analyze, design, construct and test. A successful team will produce a battery that is capable of charging a cell phone and then present their design in an attempt to get a contract to sell it as an emergency battery.

Entry Event

The CEO of Samsing Corporation is looking for ideas to help his customers stay charged up during a natural disaster. Can you design a battery capable of charging a cell phone that the average consumer could make in their own home?

Before You Begin: Research!

Consider the history of the battery and what some of the earliest batteries looked like.


Who are the famous pioneers from the past who were instrumental in developing the battery and what materials did they have available to them?


What components are required to produce a functioning battery?


Explain what is happening in a battery when electricity is being produced.

Enjoy the following videos as you begin your research.

Albert Einstein's Big Idea Nova HD
how its made, alkaline batteries.
How its Made Deep Cycle Batteries

The Engineering Design Process

  • Define the problem
  • Do background research
  • Specify requirements
  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Choose the best solution
  • Do development work
  • Build a prototype
  • Test and Redesign


This process doesn't always flow in this order and is often a circular process whereby you reach one step and have to circle back to another process and begin again.

Your final products:

  1. Your research paper.
  2. Your working battery.
  3. Your tri-fold display, website, or keynote presentation.
  4. A final test of your knowledge.

The Assessment

  • Have you built a functioning battery?
  • What voltage and amperage is your battery capable of producing?
  • Is it capable of charging a cell phone?
  • Will the average consumer be able to safely build your battery?
  • Does your display show knowledge of batteries and electricity?
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