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It’s the dead of summer right now and incredibly hot outside. What better way to cool off than to build your own small fan with your child!
Building a simple electric fan with your child is a fun way to learn about electricity and circuits. Using only some batteries, a small motor, and a few electrical wires with alligator clips, you can have the electrical portion of the fan built.
Don’t blow over this experiment; it’s a good one!
How to make the Breezy Technology Electric Fan technology experiment
Supplies you will need
For this experiment, you will need the following:
- Battery holder to hold AA batteries
- 2 AA batteries
- DC motor (small-sized)
- Fan blades (can be made from cardboard or plastic)
- Electrical wires with alligator clips (2 minimum, 3 if using a switch)
- Hot glue gun or tape
- Small wooden or plastic block (I used a box of paint)
- Optional: decorative materials (colored paper, stickers, markers, etc.)
- Optional: switch
If you’d like to buy a kit that has a lot of these supplies in it (what we did), you can buy it here. It’s got the battery holders, DC motor, fan blades, and switch in it. It’s pretty inexpensive ($12 at the time of posting this) and has a lot of good technology experiment supplies in it.
Before you start
Use caution when playing with the electrical components of this experiment.
Here is how to do this experiment with your child:
Step 1: Assemble the base
The block that you choose (I used a box of project paint) is there to connect all of the components and to help make sure that our fan doesn’t tip over.
Using a hot glue gun or some tape, attach the battery holder to the base you’ve chosen. Make sure that the wires are easy to access.
Step 2: Mount the motor
Attach the DC motor to the block using glue or tape. The motor shaft (the portion sticking out to the left in my photo) should be facing upward. Keep in mind that we’ll be adding the fan blades to the motor shaft, so make sure there’s nothing blocking that portion.
You’ll also see there’s a white cover over my DC motor. This kit I purchased (with wires, motors, switches, battery holders, and more) included a cover for the motor, so I chose to glue that to the block instead of the motor itself.
Step 3: Attach the fan blades
Now, let’s make the fan blades!
Here are a few ideas of material you could use:
- Old cereal box
- Plastic lid (like on a tub of yogurt or butter)
- Foam sheets
- Recycled plastic bottles
- Wooden popsicle sticks (taped together)
- Paper plate
- Leaves (opt for larger, sturdier leaves)
Cut out three or four equal-sized blades. They shouldn’t be very big: try to keep them smaller to make them an appropriate size for the motor we’re using. The shape can be a simple elongated oval or a more intricate design if you prefer.
Decorate them with colorful paper, stickers, or markers. Once decorated, attach the blades to the motor shaft using glue or tape. Make sure they are securely fastened.
Step 4: Connect the wires
Connect one wire from the battery holder to one terminal of the motor using an alligator clip or by taping them together. Repeat this step to connect the other wire from the battery holder to the remaining terminal of the motor.
Or, if you have a switch, you can also place it between the battery holder and the motor to control the fan.
Step 5: Test out your electric fan!
Insert the AA batteries into the battery holder and flip the switch (if you included one). The motor should start spinning, causing the fan blades to rotate and create a breeze.
The technology behind the Breezy Technology Electric Fan technology experiment
This experiment teaches:
- Introduction to Electricity and Circuits
- Cause-and-Effect Relationships
- Hands-on Problem Solving and Creativity
How it works
This electric fan experiment involves creating a circuit that allows electricity to flow from a battery to a motor, which in turn spins the fan blades, creating airflow.
The experiment gives kids an understanding of the basics of an electric circuit, where the flow of electric current powers the motor, which makes the fan blades rotate.
Introduction to Electricity and Circuits
This experiment is great to introduce the basic concepts of electricity and circuits.
Kids learn that electricity can power devices and that circuits provide a path for the flow of electric current. We can show the direct connection between the battery, wires, switch (if included), and motor. You could even help your child to disassemble each piece to see how it ties the entire experiment together!
This experiment is a great introduction to electrical systems and gives them the ability to see how each piece of the fan makes it work.
Building the electric fan provides an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about cause-and-effect relationships.
They discover that when the battery is connected to the motor, the fan blades spin and create airflow. By adjusting the blades, changing the battery voltage, or adding a switch to control the circuit, we can see how different variables can affect the speed or functionality of the fan.
Hands-on Problem Solving and Creativity
The process of building the electric fan encourages kids to engage in problem-solving and critical thinking.
They learn to follow step-by-step instructions, make decisions about the materials and design of the fan blades, and troubleshoot any issues that may happen while building the fan.
Also, they can exercise their creativity by decorating the fan blades!
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