Michael Faraday Lesson for Kids: Experiments & Inventions

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

If you like staying cool in air conditioning, playing with electronic toys, and using a microwave, then you should thank Michael Faraday. This lesson shows how Faraday's experiments in the 1800s led to many inventions that we still use today.

Who Is Michael Faraday?

Back in the early 1800s, life was very different than it is today. Back then, people didn't know how to use electricity to make their lives easier. If they wanted to read at night, they would light an oil lamp, which could fall over and start a fire. If they wanted to keep their food cold, they had to pack it in ice, and if the weather got too warm, they had no air-conditioned buildings to cool them off.

Today, we have countless electric gadgets that run on electricity and make life easier, thanks to the work of a British scientist named Michael Faraday. Faraday's discoveries laid the foundation for modern conveniences like electric lights, refrigerators and air conditioning. With all of these great inventions, you'd think that Michael Faraday would have been born with a lot of advantages, but his early years were not easy.

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday was born in London in 1791 to a poor family. Faraday never graduated high school, but he loved to learn. He loved to read, attend lectures given by famous scientists, and tinker with experiments. Faraday conducted some experiments in chemistry, but he particularly liked to learn and play with electricity and magnets, which led him to discover the principles of electromagnetic induction, the laws of electrolysis, and the creation of the Faraday cage.

An experiment by Faraday to try to induce a current from a magnetic field

Electromagnetic Induction

One day, when Michael Faraday was experimenting in his lab with electricity and magnets, he found that when he moved a magnet through a loop of wire, he could generate an electric current in the wire. He called this discovery electromagnetic induction. His discovery gave us the first glimpse into how electricity could be controlled and led to the invention of electric generators, which are machines that make electricity, and the electric motor. Electric motors are in many things you use every day, like your microwave, dishwasher, hair dryer, and many toys.

An experiment by Faraday showing electromagnetic induction

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