Showing kids how to make their own small generator is a great way to teach kids about practical electricity. The generator was first invented by the English scientist Michael Faraday in 1831 through his discovery of electromagnetic induction. Faraday also went on to discover the electric motor.
Step 1: Leaving approximately 6" of wire slack, start wrapping the magnetic wire around the tube. The wire must be magnetic, which is a type of copper or aluminum wire with a thin coating of insulation.
Step 2: Wrap the wire until about 6" of wire remains. Use tape as needed to secure the ends of the wire so it does not unwrap.
Wrap the magnetic wire around the tube to replicate the Faraday Disc Generator
Step 3: Scrape off the coating off the two ends of the magnet wire. Magnet wire has a very thin coating of enamel that must be removed to get a good connections with the multimeter. Magnet wire is solid wire, not stranded, it is is easy to scrape off the enamel. Attach both ends of the loose wire to a multimeter or voltmeter. Connect one side to the red (+) probe and the other side to the negative (-) probe. Either wrap the wire around the probes or use alligator clips to attach the wires.
Step 4: Set the voltmeter (or multimeter) to test for DC voltage.
Set the multimeter or voltmeter to test for DC voltage
Step 5: Move the magnet quickly back and forth inside the tube. If it helps, tape the magnet to a rod to more easily move it in and out of the tubing.
Step 6: Observe the voltmeter voltage readings.
Step 7: Set the voltmeter (or multimeter) to test for DC current.
Step 8: Move the magnet quickly back and forth inside the tube.
Step 9: Observe the voltmeter current readings.
As Michael Faraday discovered after the invention of the electromagnet, that if it was possible to make a non-magnetic object magnetized by adding electricity, then it should also be possible to make electricity using magnets. Magnetic fields and electricity are related. This experiment shows how the early discovery of producing electricity from a magnet made it possible to dream up much larger production of electricity for use in factories, homes, schools, and businesses.
Make sure your voltmeter or multimeter is set for a lower voltage unit. Weaker magnets will only produce a few hundredths of a volt when you move the magnet through the coil. Stronger rare earth magnets will produce a lot more voltage. A slightly thicker gage magnet wire will also help to produce a little more voltage.