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How to Make Electricity (Lite) app review

How to Make Electricity (Crayon Box, 2015; iOS only) invites you to experiment with various objects to explore how electricity works. The app offers four “labs” covering different electricity-related topics: “Battery,” “Hydroelectric Generator,” “Thermal Power Generator,” and “Solar Panel.” Battery is available for free in the “Lite” version; the full version with all four labs costs $2.99.

Tap on the lab door to enter the Battery lab. Select metal objects and fluid solutions from the bottom menu to build a DIY battery that can power electronics including a fan, a speaker, and a light bulb. Different conductive foods, such as a potato or pickle, are also included. Tap and drag to connect and disconnect objects from the circuit and experiment to find which ones create the greatest amount of power — hopefully without overloading your circuit and blowing out a speaker break or shattering a light bulb.

Tap the atom icon at top left to access the “science” view and watch electrons run through the circuit. This icon also provides the option to turn labels on/off.

The clipboard icon at bottom left pulls up “Discovery” notes which explain the science behind what’s happening in the circuit you’ve built. The graphics are visually appealing and easy to understand, and the friendly box of crayons that functions as a guide is helpful. Even with the notes, labels, and guide, some scientific jargon may be confusing for younger users, so be sure to download the extensive free “Parents’ Guide.”

There are only so many combinations of conductors and electronics to test out in the Battery lab, so I  definitely recommend springing for the full app.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later); $2.99. Recommended for intermediate users.

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