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Inventors Kit 1: Motor Madness

Posted by Matthew Little on

Motors are used to convert electrical energy into rotational motion. There are motors in so many devices you might use every day - look around your house: what items do you think have motors in them? Why are they needed?

Lets start with playing with the motor!

Attach the small or large motor connector to the motor spindle. There is a small hole in the plastic motor connectors which should push on to the motor spindle. Ask an adult to help you if this is difficult to push on.

Next we need a power source to power the motor. We will be using a battery to do this. A 1.5V AA or AAA sized battery will power the motor in this kit.

Wrap an elastic band around the battery. You can then push the motor wires between the elastic band and the battery to make a connection. You want the motor wire to touch each end of the battery. The motor will spin when you connect it to the battery. 

You might find the elastic band comes off very easily. Use sticky tape to hold the band and the wires in place if you need to!

Make a note of which direction the motor spins by watching the motor connector.

Draw an arrow to show which direction this is. Is it clockwise or anti-clockwise?

Try swapping the motor cables around. What happens to the motor direction?

We want to be able to turn the motor on and off. To do this we use a switch. We also need to use a cable connector block. You will need a small flat head screwdriver as well! First unscrew the two small screws in the cable connector block. You don't need to totally unscrew them - just enough to put the motor and switch cables into each end.

Push one of the motor cables (the black cable in this example) into one end of the cable connector block. Push one of the cables from the switch into the other end of the cable connector block. You can then tighten the two cable connector block screws. Congratulations! You have just made a cable connection and your first circuit!

Wire the other cable from the motor and the other cable from the switch to the battery, using the elastic band as we did before.

What happens when you push the switch?

You should now have a spinning motor which you can switch on and off.

What uses can you think of for this? Where else are electric motors used that you see everyday?

Now find another AA or AAA battery. We are going to increase the voltage and see what happens. We need to remove the cable connector block, as we don't need it this time. Put the two batteries side by side, but with the positive ends (with a 'sticky-outy' end) of the two batteries facing in opposite directions. We are going to wire the motor to one end and the switch to the other end. This will make our circuit, but with two batteries (the batteries are wired in 'series') instead of one. This might be a bit fiddly to hold the cables to the battery - use some sticky tape to hold things in place!

Try the switch again. What happens to the motor this time? How does it compare to when there was just one battery?


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