Creating a simple water level indicator project using a pencil and a battery is a fun and educational experiment. This project helps demonstrate the conductivity of water and how it can be used to complete an electrical circuit. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Materials Needed:

  1. Pencil with an eraser (unsharpened)
  2. 9V battery
  3. Alligator clips (2)
  4. Small plastic or glass containers (3)
  5. Water
  6. Rubber Band


  1. Prepare the Pencil Electrodes:
    • Sharpen one end of the pencil to expose the graphite core. Leave the other end with the eraser intact. Repeat this for two pencils.
  2. Insert Pencils into Containers:
    • Insert the sharpened end of each pencil into separate containers. Make sure the erasers are above the water level. The containers should be filled with water.
  3. Connect to the Battery:
    • Attach an alligator clip to the graphite end of one pencil and connect it to the positive terminal (+) of the battery. Attach another alligator clip to the graphite end of the other pencil and connect it to the negative terminal (-) of the battery.
  4. Observe the Circuit:
    • The water in the containers completes the circuit between the graphite electrodes, allowing electric current to flow.
  5. Optional: Add an LED (Indicator):
    • If you have a small LED bulb, connect it between the two graphite ends using alligator clips. The LED should light up when the water completes the circuit.
  6. Adjust Water Levels:
    • Experiment with different water levels in the containers. Observe how the LED responds as you change the water levels.
  7. Dry the Pencils:
    • After the experiment, carefully dry the graphite ends of the pencils and the battery terminals to prevent corrosion.


In this project, the graphite in the pencils serves as electrodes, and water acts as the conductor. When the graphite tips are submerged in water, it creates a conductive path, allowing electric current to flow between the pencils. This completes the circuit, and if you’ve connected an LED, it will light up.

This experiment helps kids understand basic principles of conductivity, circuits, and the role of water in completing an electrical circuit. It’s a hands-on way to explore simple electronics concepts.

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