Educator Info: Build an Electric Motor
Magnets and electricity work together to make an electric motor. Build a motor that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy to makes a coil of wire spin.
Lesson at a glance
How can magnets and electricity work together? Explore the relation between electricity and magnetism by designing an electric motor. How can mechanical energy be generated using magnets and electricity?
Students Will Know:
Electromagnets - Temporary magnets that get their force of attraction from an electric current flowing through a wire. A magnetic field is created when an electric current flows through a wire.
Magnetic field - The area around a magnet where its magnetic force can be detected.
Magnetic poles - The two areas of the magnet where the magnetic force is strongest. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole. A magnet will push or pull on other magnets - opposite poles attract one another, and the same poles repel one another.
Students Will Be Able To:
Construct a simple electric motor
Identify the variables that may be changed to create a more effective electric motor
Illinois Learning Standards
State Goal 11: A.2a; A.2b; A.2c; A.2d; A.2e; B.2a; B.2b; B.2c; B.2d; B.2e; B.2f
State Goal 12: C.2a; D.2b
State Goal 13: A.2b; a.2c
Middle / Junior High
State Goal 11: A.3a; A.3b; A.3c; A.3d; A.3e; A.3f; A.3g; B.3a; B.3b; B.3c; B.3d; B.3e; B.3f
State Goal 12: C.3a; D.3a; D.3b
State Goal 13: A.3c
Electric motors are a perfect way to illustrate the connection between electricity and magnetism. An electric motor changes electrical energy into mechanical energy. Three principles are used to create an electric motor: 1) electric currents produce magnets fields; 2) the direction of the current determines the polarity of the magnetic field that is produced; and 3) opposite magnetic poles attract and like magnetic poles repel.
Why does the coil spin?
Why does the coil need to be properly balanced?
How can the speed of the motor be increased?
How could you make the coil spin in both directions?
Can you design your motor to cause something else to move?
- Happening Now
Explore nine decades of The Walt Disney Company's history and artifacts.
Seventy years ago, a historic landing changed the world.
- Coming Soon
New Online Activities
- Online Activity
See what happens when plants compete for survival in an area with limited resources.
- Online Activity
Tap into your inner engineer as you design, build and test model bridges.