The story

Bare paint is an ink which conducts electricity. The paint has been around for a while and has been used to create interactive posters and even to light-up models in a music video. The video below shows how it can be used to create a simple circuit.

Teaching idea

A nice lesson during an electricity topic with a KS2 class would be to show the students the video and ask them how they think the LED lights up. This will require a bit of thinking as they will be used to the idea that circuits have to be made using metal wires – not paint! You could then ask them to investigate the conductivity of different substances in order to choose what could be used in the paint (you could choose lots of black substances such as charcoal, black crayon, graphite etc). They will see that even though graphite is a non-metal it conducts electricity (and this is what is in the paint).

The reason this is a topical story is that the ink is now available in a pen which would be very easy for young children to use as it is non-toxic and (relatively) non-messy. There are a whole host of tutorials on the Bare Conductive’s website which leads you though projects using the pens, such as light -up houses and robot cards.

However…considering this ink is essentially just graphite it got me to thinking if electrical circuits could be drawn by using just a pencil and the answer is yes! The video below shows how you can make a variable resistor and even a torch using a circuit drawn by a pencil. I am sure KS3 students would love to experiment with this.

If you decide to use the bare ink pens or just a normal pencil there are some great ideas for classroom activities here.

Weblinks

News story on the pens

The Bare Conductive website. Look here if you want to buy the pens and for inspiration on what to do with them.

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