GEMS makes homemade flashlights


Emma Adams

GEMS is a student-run program that provides an opportunity for lower junior high to learn more about engineering, math, and science – and this month, the girls learned how to build their own flashlights. Betsy Martinez and Emma Adams led the group and taught them how to put their projects together.

“This is a great way to teach the younger ones about circuits and sources of energy,” sophomore April Martinez said. “We taught them about all the different aspects of a flashlight.”

The leadership team showed a video explaining the different ways a flashlight works. They explained what each element of the flashlight did and how it operated.

“The kids caught on very fast,” Martinez said. “We didn’t have to explain much; they seemed like they knew how to do it.”

The helpers showed the girls how each part went on their flashlight. The battery was the source of energy, the copper tape was the circuit and the binder clip was the switch. All these pieces assembled together on a popsicle stick formed the flashlight. Then it was time for some fun.

“We played flashlight limbo and let the girls make hand puppets all over the walls,” sophomore Saloni Jarawal said. “They loved being able to shine their colorful lights all over the place.”

All the girls had different-colored light bulbs, but some were brighter than others. Their next experiments will investigate why this was so.

“We noticed all the green and pink light bulbs were really bright,” Martinez said. “Some of the girls had yellow lights, and they barely showed on the wall, so we are thinking about comparing the different colors and seeing why at the next meeting.”