dcmotorImagine you have two magnets. Glue one magnet on an imaginary record player (or a ‘lazy susan’ turntable) and hold the other magnet in your hand. What happens when you bring your hand close to the turntable magnet and bring the north sides together?

The magnet should repel and move, and since it’s on a turntable, it will circle out of the way. Now flip your hand over so you have the south facing the turntable. Notice how the turntable magnet is attracted to yours and rotates toward your hand. Just as it reaches your hand, flip it again to reveal the north side. Now the glued turntable magnet pushes away into another circle as you flip your magnet over again to attract it back to you. Imagine if you could time this well enough to get the turntable magnet to make a complete circle over and over again… that’s how a motor works!

This next activity mystifies even the most scientifically educated! Here’s what you need:


  • magnet
  • magnet wire (26g works well)
  • D cell battery
  • two paper clips (try to find the ones shown in the video, or else bend your own with pliers)
  • sandpaper
  • fat rubber band
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