Parts of a Light Bulb: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

When daylight starts to fade, you turn on lights in your house so you can see. In this lesson, learn about the parts of the invention that help you see at night, the light bulb.

Let There Be Light!

Can you imagine what life would be like at night with no light bulbs? It would be very hard to do any of the fun activities that you're used to. Luckily, light bulbs have been around for more than one hundred years. You probably have light bulbs all over your house, and may have changed a few when they burned out. Have you ever looked closely at one to see the parts inside? Let's explore the parts and science of these valuable inventions.

Electrical Foot Contact

When you look down to the bottom of your body, what do you see? Your feet, of course. Light bulbs have feet as well, but they're very different from yours. At the base of a light bulb is the electrical foot contact. These two metal contacts may be hard to see because they are covered with material to insulate or protect the electricity.

The electrical foot contact is at the base of the bulb and connects it with an electricity source.
foot contact

Contact Wires and Tungsten Filament

Coming up from the electrical foot contact are two metal contact wires. These wires are very stiff and are attached to a tungsten filament. A filament in a light bulb is a wire that is almost as thin as a thread. This wire is used to conduct heat, and it is made from a chemical element called tungsten.

Why tungsten? This element has a high melting temperature, which means it can withstand higher temperatures. The tungsten filament is heated to the point that it glows, which is what gives off that important light when you want to read your favorite book at bedtime.

The tungsten filament in a light bulb is a very thin wire that heats until it glows.

Support Wires

Inside of that tiny light bulb that's in your lamp, a lot of activity happens when it's turned on. The light bulb contains a circuit, which is a circular path that electrons can travel. Electrons travel quickly, so in order to keep the circuit flowing, there are support wires which help keep all parts connected and electrons flowing.

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