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MEL Physics “Electric Motor” Review – April 2021

MEL Physics is the newest subscription box for kids ages 8-14+ from parent company, MEL Science. Each month you’ll receive all of the materials you need to successfully complete physics experiments in the comfort of your home. This is perfect for kids who are interested in science or for homeschool students! Check out our reviews for MEL Chemistry (ages 9- 14+) and MEL Kids (ages 5-10) to see what else MEL Science has to offer!

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About MEL Physics

The Subscription Box: MEL Physics

The Cost: $34.90 per month

The Products: Everything you need to conduct physics experiments each month safely in your own home!

Ships to: The U.S. and U.K. for free. International shipping to select countries is also available, although there may be additional shipping charges depending on location.

MEL Physics “Electric Motor” Review April 2021

This month our experiments’ theme is “Electric Motor” and the contents were listed on the back of our box.

 

The contents are always packaged so neatly making it easy to find everything we need!

 

Inside our box was an instruction sheet that included some general safety rules and information for the supervising adults. I love that they include this sheet so the parent can follow along, but still allow the child to work independently.

 

If you prefer to use technology, you can also download the MEL Physics app and everything you need is there including safety and disposal information. The directions are sometimes animated, and they provide scientific descriptions and further educational materials which I definitely recommend checking out! These are from a previous experiment, but the sections generally remain the same for each experiment.

 

This month we received two different small, but strong magnets, some iron powder, and a metal compass for our experiments.

Experiment 1: Turbulence

 

The directions came on a sturdy fold-out card with illustrations and steps that I found easy to follow and the materials for each experiment are numbered making them easy to locate. Our first experiment was “Electromagnet.”

 

For our first experiment, they provided some paper clips, alligator clips, wire, a bolt, and a push-button. They also provided a battery pack with alligator clips, although they did not provide the two AA batteries we needed. This is kind of a pet peeve of mine when you’re paying a decent amount for a box and it doesn’t include any batteries, but fortunately, I have a stash so it wasn’t a huge inconvenience for me.

 

First, I simply tested the magnet against each of the items, including the iron powder to see how they reacted.

 

Next, I added batteries to the pack and wired everything up according to the diagram they included in the directions.

 

Then I placed the compass near the black wire and while at first, it was stationery, when I pushed the button it would begin to spin with the electromagnetic energy that was transferred from the batteries.

 

To create a stronger connection I coiled the wire around the bolt. Then wired it up again and tested the paper clips and the compass while pushing the red button. It was pretty cool to see how much quicker the compass spun this time!

Experiment 2: Electric Generator

 

Our second experiment was entitled, “Electric Generator” and it was a great way to take our experiment just a bit further.

For this experiment, they provided a buzzer, an LED light, a piece of straw, some rubber end caps, small rubber bands, and a spool with copper wire.

 

I unraveled the two wires on the spool and then connected them to either alligator clip from the battery pack. Then I set the smaller magnet inside the spool and it stayed in place when I picked it up. Pretty cool!

 

Next, I took off the battery pack and then slipped the straw through the center of the spool over the magnet and added two rubber bands and the end caps to keep the magnet in place. Then I connected this to the buzzer using the extra alligator clips. The idea was to shake the spool vigorously so the magnet would move inside and then I could faintly hear the buzzer. The same shaking was supposed to light up our LED, but I only got a brief flicker from it even after messing with it several times. I’m not sure what the problem is because the flickering tells me the LED works, but maybe I am just not shaking with enough vigor? The straw did keep collapsing on me and the magnet kept coming out so I would have to put it all together again. Needless to say, after having to locate that tiny magnet a few times on my kitchen floor and put it all back together again, this was not my favorite experiment!

Experiment 3: Kalliroscope

 

Our last experiment was the one we were building up to, our electric motor.

 

They provided everything we needed, copper wires, a wooden base, foam holders, wooden pegs, terminal stands, and some plastic end caps along with some adhesive pieces and a wooden piece to wrap our wire in. They also provided a small sandpaper cube.

 

I added the adhesive squares and then stuck the battery pack and foam base onto the wooden piece. Then I added the disc magnet to the center and the wooden pegs with terminal stand into the foam piece.

 

Then I wrapped one of the copper wires around the wooden piece and placed two plastic end caps over the wires. I used the sanding cube to rub off some of the coating so that our motor would run. Then I placed the entire thing with the wires resting on the terminal stand.

Then I attached the alligator clips from the battery pack to the terminal stands and gave our wooden piece a little spin. It moved around a few times, but then stopped. I did visit their website for some help to see if I could figure out what was going wrong and I figured I needed to sand some more of the coating off so I did that and tried again.

This time I got a few more spins out of it, but it did not continuously spin the way the motor in the video did. I am thinking maybe my wires are too bent and not straight enough? I do have two more pieces of wire to try it with again, so I may do that and hope that it works a little better, but at least I got a little bit of motion out of it!

 

Verdict: I have to admit, this MEL Physics box was probably not my favorite. Not only could I not get the LED to light up, but also the motor didn’t run as it should have. Since those could both very well be my fault, I won’t let that affect my judgment too much, but I was disappointed there was no bonus experiment this month like there usually is, and the fact that I had to provide the batteries. I just feel like, at $34.90, batteries should be included! This could definitely just be a personal opinion though. Otherwise, the box still had a lot to offer in that it was well organized, the way the experiments built upon one another was logical and the materials seemed to be high-quality. Overall, it was another great educational experience, but there were just a few different aspects that kept this from being one of their better boxes!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, it is possible that you will receive this set. From MEL Physics:

“The topics are looped such that the start date of your subscription does not matter; you will eventually receive all the experiment sets.”

Check out our other MEL Physics reviews and this list of the best subscription boxes for kids, as recommended by MSA readers!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add MEL Physics to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in MEL Chemistry Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: mel physics | 0 comments

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