Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Generating Electricity


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.

Learning Outcomes

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

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS2.B Types of Interactions
  • PS3.A Definitions of Energy
  • PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
  • PS3.C Relationship Between Energy and Forces

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter
  • Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Experiment 25 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

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