I have to build a simple electromotor in the following way: I attach a permanent magnet to a battery, connect some metal supports to the terminals of the battery, and place a coil of wire on the supports, suspended above the magnet. My question is, will it still work just as well (or at all) if the wire is insulated? Thanks!
It will work just as well provided the part of the coil making contact with the supports is not insulated. The rest of it can be insulated. The important property is that current has the ability to run through the coil because it is this current that experiences a force due to the magnetic field of the permanent magnets causing the coil to rotate. For a bit more detail and pictures: