Magnets and motors

This is a hands-on history of electromagnetism and how it led to the invention of the motor.

  • Credit: Royal Institution


  • Key Stage 2

  • Key Stage 3

  • Key Stage 4


This workshop is set in a historical context but in a series of hands on activities, students will dramatically improve their understanding of how magnetism and electricity are linked and the important electromagnetic principles which drive our modern world.

Following a practical reminder of basic magnetic principles students will see how liquids can be magnetised. After making an electromagnet and a demonstration of Faraday’s original electric motor they will build a simple battery powered motor that uses similar principles.

This workshop is designed for students between the ages of 10 and 15 years old and lasts for around four hours with a 30min lunch break.

The maximum group size is 24. Actual group sizes depend on age and circumstance, for more info contact the team at

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