Ben Franklin Was Lucky! Experiment

Ben Franklin Was Lucky! Experiment

Print this page and find out why Ben Franklin was so lucky. Ask an adult to help you with this experiment.

Benjamin Franklin could have died from many of his electricity experiments. Once, while checking his electrical equipment, he touched two parts at the same time and got a big shock. His whole body vibrated, and his arms were numb until the next morning. He was lucky he wasn’t burned or electrocuted!

Headshot of Benjamin Franklin

You will need a circuit set up like the one shown in the illustration.The center wire should be thicker than the other two. It should have 1 inch of insulation removed at each end – have a teacher or other adult do this for you.

Illustration of a battery connected with wires to a light bulb and a wired connecting the two wires in the center

Can you figure out why Ben Franklin got shocked? Discuss what will happen to the light when you set up the circuit. Record your prediction below. Set up the circuit and then lay the thick wire between the two exposed wires. Observe what happens. Then IMMEDIATELY remove the thick wire and disconnect the battery.

  1. Your prediction:
  2. What happened?
  3. You built a short circuit. Explain why it’s called a short circuit.
  4. Based on your experiment, can you tell why Benjamin Franklin got shocked?