Simple Spinner

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In this activity, learners create a tiny electric, motorized dancer. Learners use the interactions of magnetism and electric current to make a wire spin, while displaying the Lorentz Force in action. This lesson guide provides one of many ways to build the spinner and links to other methods.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Copper magnet wire (25 to 35 cm)
  • Sand paper or something to strip the magnet wire
  • New single cell battery: AA, A, C or D size.
  • Circular Neodymium Magnet
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
  • Standard Ceramic magnets (optional)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
      • Electric Motors
      • Electric Circuits
    • Motion and Forces
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Electronics
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Muller, Eric


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2007