Diving into the Physics of Motors and Generators

Design a 50 Year Energy Plan
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Learning Goal(s):

1. Through hands-on exploration, create a working speaker for a cellphone.

2. Use the creation of a speaker to observe as a model for the process of generating electrical current in a simple generator/motor. 

Lesson Number:
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
5 hours

Using energy analysis and some tinkering students hand wind speakers to play music from a phone. This acts as a phenomenon to engage students in the exploration of electromagnetism. At this point, they have created a motor, which utilizes electric current to perform work (the speaker itself creating noise). They can then explore the reversal of this process in the next lesson. Next, we disassemble the speakers and connect them to simple, student-made $3 guitars to make them electric guitars. This process reversal of the speaker system above, and students are given insight into how generators work. They can spend time optimizing different parts of their guitar design for as long as they choose in order to make it more effective or clear. 

Science Kit Material(s) Used:
Other Material(s) Used:
• Masking Tape • 1 Clear • 2 Clear buckets • Water • 2 Food Coloring – Blue and Yellow • 3 Light Bulbs (1.5 V) • 3 Alligator Clips • 1 Bar Magnets • 2 magnetic compasses • Hand generators • Spools of enameled wire