We use electricity and magnetism each day, but how do they work? This activity demonstrates the difference in current flow between an open and closed circuit and also shorts. We also saw how the generator can create an electromagnet when attached to a wire around a nail. To start, I will bring up the phet model to visually demonstrate the electrons flowing, and the circuit “moving.” This way the students can see what is actually happening before they begin the activity. I can ask them how they think electricity and magnetism and related, and move forward from there. The only struggle I see them having with this activity is being able to crank the generator hard enough, or even creating the circuit (knowing what to attach to what). To change up the activity I could add more things for the magnet to pick up. We can add different lights for them to make the circuits. We can also add wire to even create a parallel circuit.
Electromagnetism is the fundamental relationship between electrical and magnetic fields. A moving electric field produces a magnetic field that rotates around it, and a moving magnetic field produces an electric field that rotates around it. Flowing electrons produce a magnetic field, and spinning magnets are what cause an electric current to flow. Electromagnetism is simply the interaction of these two important forces.