Sunday, February 24, 2008

Engineers Week

Engineers Week was last week. One reason the organizers put effort into making and promoting Engineers Week is to get kids interested in engineering. So why does it take place during winter vacation week?

So I'll be belatedly "celebrating" Engineers Week this week by visiting my daughter's elementary school class and talking about electricity. My presentation is titled, "Watt is Electricity?" Get it?

I made a little electromagnet kit for each student. All I did was wind about four feet of solid 22 gauge copper wire around a nail. I placed this in a bag with a D battery, some paper clips and a sheet of paper with this text:
Electromagnet Test Kit
  • 4’ 22 AWG Solid Insulated Copper Wire
  • Steel Nail
  • D Battery (1.5V)
  • Paperclips (to test electromagnet)
When electrical current flows through a wire, a magnetic field develops around the wire. By winding the wire into a tight coil around an iron core, the magnetic flux is concentrated, and the magnetic attraction is strong.

Touch the bare wire ends to the battery terminals.

Watch Out – it gets HOT.

How many paper clips can you pick up?

What do you think would happen if:
  • You unwrapped some of the wire?
  • You used a 9V or 12V battery?
  • You wrapped the wire around a pencil?

Science Links for Kids

Those links are pretty cool. Check them out when you get a chance!

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