The Power of Recycling - the story of a lithium ion battery


This curriculum-linked STEM-based resource for 9-11 year olds and their teachers tells the story of lithium ion car batteries and the recycling process. Through simple models and activities, the children are introduced to how these batteries work, what they contain and why they should be recycled.


The resource comprises practical activities including:


  • using everyday materials to build a model of a lithium ion cell and battery
  • a challenge to separate a variety of everyday materials modelling real industrial processes
  • an investigation
  • a quiz and games


As the children complete the activities, they keep an ongoing record of what they have achieved in a ‘passport’. Once the passport is completed, they use their skills to build a model battery-powered vehicle.


Each lesson is supported by teacher notes and background information, resource list, pupils’ activity sheets, key STEM vocabulary and suggestions for additional or extension activities. There are PowerPoint presentations and animations to enrich the lessons. The activities are designed to be used individually or as part of an extended project and may be used by STEM ambassadors, science clubs or for home school projects.


Follow the links to view and download the following:


A PDF of the main resource, including lesson plans, teacher support notes, key vocabulary, curriculum links, pupils’ activity passport, quiz and games.

02-Powerpoint – Lithium ion cell animation

03-Powerpoint - Make a lemon battery

04-Video - A research scientist explains why a lithium ion battery should be recycled and sets the separation challenges for the children.

05-06-Powerpoint - A circus of eight separations based on real industrial processes. A challenge to separate a mixture of materials.

07-Powerpoint - A Sticky Problem- Investigating a suitable glue to make battery recycling easier.

10-PowerPoint - Build a battery-powered car.  Presentation shows how to attach a motor, pulley, axles and wheels to a chassis and complete the circuit with batteries to produce motion.