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Motorized Wiggly-Jiggly Pens

In this activity, students get to set-up and connect their own electric motor, and make their own wacky pens!

Electric motors are extremely useful, and can be found in tonnes of familiar items, from blenders and mixers, to computers and cars!


  • Build a simple circuit to power a motor.


  • Per Group:
    electrical tape
    wire clippers

  • Per Student:
    Mini motor
    Length of covered wire (stripped at the ends, roughly the length of the pen)
    Film canister lids or a 4 cm diameter circle cut from heavy cardboard (punched with a hole just large enough to fit on motor axle)
    Small piece of plasticine
    * Hobby motors can be purchased at hobby or electronics stores

Key Questions

  • Did you have any challenges in making your jiggly pen jiggle? If so, then how did you fix it, and what did that teach you about circuits and motors?

What To Do

  1. Hand out materials to students. Have them ensure that the pen works.
  2. Attach the wires to the motor, one on each terminal.
  3. Tape battery and motor to the pen. Ensure that that the motor is at the top of the pen (with the axel above the top of the pen). Ensure also that the battery is taped within reach of the stripped wires.
  4. Test whether the motor is working by using an elastic band to attach the wires to the battery. Disconnect the wires before starting the next step.
  5. Finally, push the film canister lid onto the motor axle. Attach a small blob of plasticine to one side. This will throw the motor off centre.
  6. Connect the wires to the battery to turn on the motor, and try to write with the pen.