- In this lesson students will explore what happens at the atomic level when electricity and magnetism interact to create a force. In a lab they will watch a video about electrons in motion, build a simple motor and make observations and predictions about ways to manipulate its operation.
Grade Level: 6-8
- 90-120 minutes (approximately 3-5 class periods)
- Students will describe and apply the following terms: electric charge, current, magnetism and magnetic field.
- Students will build an electromagnet.
- Students will identify the terms electric charge, current, magnetism and magnetic field.
- Students will apply the above terms while building an electromagnet.
- Students will make observations of the electromagnet.
- Students will apply their observations to make predictions of new situations.
- Completion of the lab questions.
- Informal evaluation of participation in group discussion.
Media Resources and Lab
Electrons in Motion QuickTime Video(2 minutes, 11 seconds)
- Motor Lab
- Magnetic wire
- Pencil or pen
- Paper cup
- 2 safety pins
- Two small magnets
- Wire, preferably with alligator clips
Lesson Motor Lab
- Introduce the topic of electricity and assess background knowledge. What is electricity and where have the students seen electricity used? Take some time exploring what students know already. What are some common uses of electricity? How would our lives be drastically different without electricity?
- Background. Use the background section of the Motor Lab to review and/or introduce electricity and magnetism.
- Review the atom and subatomic particles and the charges each subatomic particle carries.
- Electric current and electric circuit. Introduce the topics and give the students a battery and small lamp to show a completed circuit.
- Magnetism and magnetic field. Have several magnets out and encourage the students to find ways to make the magnets attract and repulse each other.
- Electricity and magnetism interact to create forces. A force is a push or a pull on an object. Ask students to show you examples of forces (pushing or pulling on desks or other objects in the room, etc.)
Procedure Motor Lab
Electrons in Motion QuickTime Video(2 minutes, 11 seconds) and discuss. What are some concepts learned from the video? On the motor, what is the name for the part that spins? The part that remains stationary? What are other variations that can be done on a motor?
- Conclusions and Questions. Ask the students to complete their conclusions together then lead a class discussion. (See Teacher Answer Sheet for details).
- Enrichment. What other parts can be added to your motor? Can you add a switch? If you have LEDs or lightbulbs, add these to show that the switch is turned on.
- How are motors being used now in the area of nanoscale science? Using the internet, have the students research a few different applications of motors.