Electromagnetic Dancer: Connect Her Up and Watch Her Dance!

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In this activity, learners use a nail and magnet wire to build an electromagnet, which controls the movements of a paper dancer. Learners will enjoy watching the dancer swirl around when they activate the electromagnet. Use this activity to help learners explore circuits, electromagnets, and currents. Includes pictures, detailed steps for construction, and focus questions to enhance learning. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • Base board, at least 8" long
  • C battery
  • Film can, no lid
  • 6-10' Magnet wire, any gauge
  • Bolt or nail (2.5" 1/4 machine screw works well)
  • 12" dowel, 1/4" diameter
  • 6 Small paperclips
  • 2 Tiny magnets
  • Duct tape
  • Markers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Stiff paper or card stock for the dancer
  • One side of transparent CD case
  • Tiny binder clip
  • 15/64 bit for drill
  • Hole punch
  • Sand paper for stripping magnet wire


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Electrical Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
      • Electric Circuits

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop


  • All rights reserved, Watsonville Environmental Science Workshop, 2011