Two science projects that use electric motors are building an electric motor itself and using a motor to build an air propelled motor boat. The projects demonstrate the creation of force by passing a current through a magnetic field and are engaging methods to learn about simple electric currents.
To build a simple electric motor, students need a D battery, a small magnet, insulated 22G wire, 2 large-eyed, long, metal sewing needles, modeling clay and electrical tape. Tape the needles to the ends of the battery, and wrap the wire in a bundle leaving two ends sticking out of the coil, string it between the two needle’s eyes. Place the magnet on the center of battery directly under the coil of wire. Use the clay to stabilize the structure. Once completed, spin the wire, and it will continue to rotate in the same direction.
Materials needed for an air controlled motor boat include a simple switch, electric motor, battery holder, propeller, screws and wire. Construct the body of the boat from Styrofoam using a template that allows for propeller clearance and makes room for the battery and motor mount. Glue the pieces together, mount the battery, switch and motor with the propeller attached and wire the battery and motor to the switch. If done correctly, flipping the switch completes the circuit and powers the propeller.