Attractive electrical experiments
Electric motors are everywhere! In your house, almost every mechanical movement that you see around you is caused by an electric motor. In these activities students will use simple supplies to create their own simple motors and explore how attractive and repulsive forces of magnetized materials can create movement.
- Describe how magnetic energy works.
- Explain why there is a positive and a negative end on a battery and the direction electrons move.
- Describe what conductors and insulators are.
- Identify parts of a motor.
- Explain how an electric motor works.
Students are familiar with many items powered by motors; fans, microwave ovens, garbage disposals, electric can openers, washers and dryers, electric toothbrushes, hair dryers, CD players, most power tools, and more!
What is an electric motor? Simply put, it’s a device that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy. In this lesson, students play a game demonstrating electric current, explore how an electric current can create a magnet, and build their own electric motors.
A motor contains electromagnets and permanent magnets which attract and repel one another. You can make a simple electromagnet by winding wire around a nail and connecting the wire to a battery. While the electric current flows, the nail becomes an electromagnet and has a north and south pole. When you bring a permanent magnet near the electromagnet, the two ‘like’ (or similar) poles will repel each other and unlike poles will attract.
Inside an electric motor, the attracting and repelling magnetic forces create rotational motion.
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