The goal of this activity is for students to develop their understanding of a simple generator. In the Preliminary Observations, students observe a flickering LED as a set of magnets spins inside coils of wire.

Students are encouraged to explore one or more factors that may affect the lighting of the LED, such as the magnet strength, rotation rate of the magnets, and the number of coils of wire. They may investigate the brightness of the LED as an indicator of the generated power, or they may use a current or voltage sensor to quantify changes, or they can use an energy sensor.

This activity is written for use with the KidWind simpleGEN, but homemade versions can work as well. To keep the construction simple, the generator produces alternating current.


  • Design and perform an investigation to explore generator optimization
  • Measure generator output based on one or more experimental variables