Education Bug - a complete listing of educational resources Free Newsletter Signup
Your Name Age  
Your Email Address Zip
PUBLIC SCHOOLS PRIVATE SCHOOLS SCHOOL DISTRICTS COLLEGES PUBLIC LIBRARIES JOBS BLOG RESOURCES


Follow EducationBug on Twitter

Make a Magnet Science Project



This article has information and instructions on how to make two different magnet science projects. This project presents two approaches to making a magnet, first, using a very strong magnet and the second, using a battery.

For a younger child, you can use the first set of instructions and provide guidance and supervision. For an older child, you can both have the child read the instructions to him or herself and also, if you wish, carry out all the different ways of creating magnets, and compare the results of all the methods at the end.

To extend the project, you can consider the following:

  • Add other materials, such as nails, to the first experiment, using the same techniques to magnetize different objects besides paper clips. Compare the results.
  • Try magnetizing the item attached to the very strong magnet for a longer time
  • Try stroking the magnet against the metal many times (say 30) in the same direction and compare the results with the original instructions.

Make a Magnet I

In this project, students use an existing magnet to make new magnets in two ways.

Materials

  • Two very strong bar magnets
  • Metal (not coated) paper clips
  • Other assorted bar magnets
  • Indelible marker.

Directions

  1. Examine the magnets to discover their properties. If you’re going to make a magnet, the only way to know if you’ve succeeded is to know how a magnet behaves.
  2. Try making more than one paperclip hang from the bar magnet in a magnetic chain (that is, don’t link them: just let magnetism hold them together). Figure out whether the paper clips have become magnets. (Metal touching a magnet may become a temporary magnet itself, but when separated from the source magnet, it loses the temporary magnetic properties.)
  3. a. Take a few paperclips and put them on the North side of one very strong magnet. Leave them there for several days.
  4. b. Select a paperclip and mark one end with indelible marker, so you can tell which it is. This end will be North. Using the South end of a very strong magnet, stroke the paper clip several times on both sides from the center to the South end. Then use the North end of the magnet to stroke the paper clip several times on both sides from the center to the North end.
  5. Test the magnetic properties of the two magnets that you have created. Determine which magnet that you’ve made is stronger and which lasts longer.

Make a Magnet II

In this project, students use a battery and electricity to make a magnet.

Materials

  • Several magnets
  • 2 large steel nails
  • 2 pieces of insulated wire - 8 to 10 inches (20  to 25 cm) in length and 16 to 20 inches (40 to 50 cm)
  • A D-cell battery
  • A battery holder
  • Iron filings
  • Paper plate

Directions

  1. Examine the magnets to discover their properties. If you’re going to make a magnet, the only way to know if you’ve succeeded is to know how a magnet behaves.
  2. Examine the nail. Make sure it isn’t a magnet. If it is, strike it with a hammer or drop it on the floor several times to demagnetize it.
  3. Make sure the ends of the shorter wire are exposed (stripped). Wrap the wire around the nail and attach the ends to the battery.
  4. Test the strength of the magnet you have made on the iron filings. Place the iron filings on the paper plate. Hold the electromagnet beneath the plate, watch the arrangement of the filings change.
  5. Repeat the directions from 2, except this time use the longer wire on the second nail, which will mean that there are more coils. What effect, if any, does this have on the strength of the magnet?
  6. Figure out a test you could do to compare the strength of the two nails-made-into-magnets. Carry out your test. What did you find?