Show children how to make a simple electric motor with a magnet

Using just a magnet, a battery, a nail and a piece of copper wire, this is the simplest electric motor you can make, says Alom Shaha, but it is utterly delightful and children will love it

Physics 21 September 2022

Model of an electric motor

Vitranc/Getty Images

THROUGHOUT history, humans have found ways to make their lives easier. Arguably, the machine that has most eased the burden of work for humans is the electric motor – a device that transforms electricity into motion.

You can find these at the heart of every washing machine, dishwasher, lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, food processor and in countless other household appliances and industrial machines. I imagine quite a few readers of this magazine will have, like me, delighted in extracting the motor from a broken toy or gadget and making it spin by connecting a battery to its terminals.

However, I suspect …

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