The picture above shows a Toothpick motor. As it can be observed, a steel needle penetrates the toothpick. A coil is built around the needle.

    The most important part of the electric motor is the coil, which is where a fluctuating magnetic field is created when the motor is spinning. This software program explains step-by-step, using text and dozens of digital pictures and drawings, how to make each coil from the beginning to the end. By simply following the sequence of the digital pictures, students will gain sufficient knowledge to make a coil that will work succesfully.

    This learning experience can be adapted by science teachers as a motivating lab activity for an entire class. Teachers could guide the students in making the coil and other parts of the electric motor, or if a computer lab is available, students could follow the instructions presented in the different computers. After all the needed materials have been obtained, it takes between 1 and 2 hours to assemble and test successfully a toothpick motor.

    The animations of about 40 different motors are incorporated in the software.


    Another electric motor that students can construct is the Paperclip motor. This motor is the simplest of the four to make. To assemble it takes about 15 minutes, which is basically the time needed to make the coil. Students are suggested to construct several coils, each containing from 1 to 20 loops of wire, and later check which coil appears to be turning the best.

    For this project students can use insulated or noninsulated wire, from gauge 20 to gauge 30. If insulated wire is utilized, a razor blade has to be used to scratch off the insulation from both ends of the coil that make contact with the paperclips. In the picture shown above, the object placed on the battery is a ring ceramic magnet.

    This educational product clearly describes the different materials that are needed, and how to get them. The wires and the magnets can be purchased at Walmart, Home Depot, and science supplies stores. A good news is that the rest of the materials may be obtained for free or are very unexpensive. In fact, most items are easily found at home.


    The Straw motor is similar in many ways to the Toothpick motor. The toothpick and the steel needle are substituted for a drinking plastic straw and a straight steel wire, both about 12 cm in length. The wire from a small paperclip is appropriate for this project. The Straw motor requires more electricity and a stronger magnet to operate. The complete assembly and testing of this electric motor takes from 1 to 2 hours.


    The central part of this electric motor is a medium size cork. Of the four motors studied, the coil of the cork motor is the one that uses the greatest amount of wire. This motor looks very fascinating when it is turning. It takes approximately 2 hours to assemble the Cork motor.


    Besides the four types of motors described above, this product also shows a St. Louis Motor and other types of electric motors of greater power. Even though they are much more challenging to build, students will find beneficial learning about them.

    This product was put together by certified physics teachers with many years of classroom experience.

    If you are interested in purchasing this educational product (Electric Motors - Product # MOTO1), please send your check or money order for $95.00 to the address shown below. All orders will be fulfilled within 7 days.

    Note:   Ceres Software Corporation also accepts purchase orders from school districts and from individual schools. The purchase order must show the school name, address, and phone number, and must be signed by an administrator or department chairperson that is authorized to make purchases. Please send your purchase order to the physical address or email address shown below.

      Ceres Software Corporation
      871 N.W. 133rd Avenue
      Miami, Florida 33182-1807


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