We generally understand that magnets attract metal objects, that they have poles (North & South) and that these poles interact so that opposites attract and like poles repel one another.   It is also important to know that between these poles there is a magnetic field that runs from the North to the South pole in the form of curved lines

The magnets we are using are button magnets.   They still have North and South poles which are assigned to the flat surfaces of the magnet with the field still running from North to South.  
Electrical current is produced by the movement of electrons through an object that is conductive.   The flow of electrons in a battery is out of the negative end, into the positive terminal, and back through the battery to the negative in a loop (figure c).   When there is no outside connection, the battery does not produce a current because it is an open circuit.   When the circuit is closed by plugging the battery into an object such as a flashlight, the electrons are able to flow from the negative terminal, through the object being powered, and back into the positve terminal and through the conductive solution inside the battery over and over in a loop until the electrons are no longer able produce the needed energy.  

The homo-polar motor works due to Lorentz-force.   Lorentz-force explains the force that results from the velocity (movement and direction) of charged particles   through a magnetic field.   The closer the current and magnetic field are to being at a right angle (90 degrees), the stronger the force that will put on the screw in the basic motor, or on the wire in the upgraded version.   The model below is used to show direction of the force (Figure D).   The V or current arm would be moved in the direction of current flow, with the B or magnetic field arm pointing in the direction of the field.   By manipulating these arms to model the directions of the current and field at the same time, the force arm with demonstrate the...