Saturday Science: Exploring Motors

The primary difference between homeschool science and public school science is that homeschoolers usually have the benefit of getting a bit more hands-on exploration time. This is for two reasons:
1- It is easier for us to acquire supplies for one (or even a small handful of) student(s) than it is to gather supplies for 20-30 students.
2- It is easier for us to monitor one (or even a small handful of) student(s) for safety than it is to monitor 20-30 students for safety.

That said, homeschoolers don’t always have fancy science kits or polished, store bought lessons. A lot of times, we work with what we have readily available.

In this instance, what we had readily available was an old cat toy.
The outside of the toy was a sort of laminated paper sack, meant to look like a brown bag lunch.
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You’ll notice that we had two large screw drivers, one phillips and one flathead. These screwdrivers were obviously too large for this project but I laid them out to show LittleMan and discuss with him the differences between the two.
Once we opened the paper bag part of the cat toy up, we found the internal workings had three main parts: the battery compartment, the vibrating sphere, and the wire connecting those two.
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I took the batteries out so that the sphere would stop vibrating while we worked.
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LittleMan used the small screwdriver to open it up.
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Inside we found a vibrating motor, not unlike the one LittleMan used to make his first robot 6 months ago. This motor however is larger than the other one we worked with, so making observations was slightly easier.
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We put the batteries back in, making sure to take time to discuss how batteries work, and then we observed the motor at work.
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We talked about the way looked, the way it felt in our hand, the sound it made when we set it down. We wanted to open it up further but the makers of this cat toy did an excellent job of soldering everything shut.
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All in all this was a super fun and super easy science lesson, not to mention free since we had everything on hand. We covered some major life skills (working with screwdrivers and batteries), we expanded our vocabulary (phillips, flathead, negative, positive, etc..), and most importantly we sparked curiosity.


Be sure to check out what my Saturday Science co-hosts are up to this week!
Tornado Bottle Weather Science Activity from Little Bins For Little Hands
Building Structures with Candy Pumpkins from Lemon Lime Adventures
5 Awesome Pumpkin Science Experiments For Kids from The Usual Mayhem


For more science ideas, activities, etc.. visit our Saturday Science Pinterest board!Follow Science Experiments for Kids on Pinterest.


Be sure to link up your science posts below!

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5 Comments to Saturday Science: Exploring Motors

  1. What a neat idea! I think my son would love to explore a motor!

  2. Great project. Thx for linking it up at the Thoughtful Spot!

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