Generator: Can a Magnet Produce an Electric Current? (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

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  1. A generator is a device that produces electric current by spinning a coil within a magnetic field. Similar results can be achieved by moving a coil back and forth across a magnetic field. Design a method of changing the original experiment so that one of the coils is moved back and forth across the areas between the north and south poles of two magnets.
  2. Demonstrate how windmills turn coils in generators by cutting a 6-inch × 6-inch (15-cm × 15-cm) square from a sheet of typing paper. Draw two diagonallines across the paper and use a coin to draw a circle in the center. With scissors, cut the four lines up to the edge of the circle. Use a paper punch to cut holes in the center and corners of the paper as shown in the diagram. Fold the corners with the holes over the center hole. Push a pencil through the holes, position the paper in the center of the pencil, and secure with clay. Cut a circle from poster board and ask an adult to push the point of the pencil through its center. Lay the pencil in ''V's'' formed between your index fingers and thumbs. Blow toward the paper. The turning circle represents turning coils. Use this windmill model to demonstrate the use of wind to generate electric energy.


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The electric generator was invented by Michael Faraday (1791–1867), an English scientist. Find out more about generators. How do they work? What are they used for?

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