More Magnetism

Here is an earlier post with more on magnets from our website to give you the basics.  And now we’ll share three experiments with magnetism.magnetism experiments

Make Your Own Electromagnet:

Electromagnets are magnets that use flowing electrons to create a magnetic field. Flowing electrons means electricity.

This is a simple electromagnet. It is just a wire wound around a core. Electricity runs through the wire and aligns the atoms in the core, creating a magnetic field. Image in the public domain.

You need:

  • Wire Strippers
  • A long iron nail, the longer and thicker the more powerful your magnet will be.
  • Three meters of 22 gauge insulated, stranded copper wire (from a home improvement or hardware store)
  • D-cell batteries
  1. Wrap the wire very tightly around the nail, in close, tight coils. The more coils and the less space between the nail and the wire, the better your magnet will work.
  2. Use the wire strippers to strip off about three cm of insulation at each end of the wire.
  3. Attach each end of the wire to opposite ends of a D battery. See if your magnet can pick up metal objects like a paper clip.
  4. What’s the heaviest thing it can pick up?
  5. Try adding a second battery and see if your electromagnet gets stronger.

Be careful, the more batteries you add, the more dangerous this becomes. Don’t overdo it and if your batteries or magnet start to get hot, stop and let them cool down before you go on.

Make Your Own Speakers

  • If you want to try this check out this web site for directions. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a simple, inexpensive and extremely cool project.


You can make objects levitate. Try this:

  1. place a bar magnet on the edge of a table, with just a bit hanging over the edge.
  2. Tie a string onto a paper clip.
  3. Hold the string so the paper clip comes near the magnet, but does not touch it.
  4. The paper clip should stand straight out in the air, toward the magnet.
Harrison is making a paper clip hover in mid air with a magnet.
Harrison is making a paper clip hover in mid air with a magnet.

More Levitation

  1. Get ring-shaped magnets.ring-magnets-stacked-and-levitating-1
  2. Get a wooden dowel, small enough for the ring magnets to fit around.
  3. Holding the dowel vertically, one end resting on a table, place the ring magnets one at a time on the dowel, making sure that North and South poles are facing each other, so the magnets repel, instead of attract.
  4. Ta da! A stack of levitation.

Additional Layers:

  • Go back to that electromagnet you made. Which end of the iron nail is north? You can tell by wrapping your fingers around the nail in the direction the current flows. Now point your thumb straight up, your thumb will point north.
  • There are some fun and very cool magnet toys you can buy. Everything from magnet experiments, to magnet art, to magnets that rattle like a snake when you throw them in the air. Think birthday gift or Christmas.
  • A solenoid is an electromagnet that has an air core instead of an iron core. They are used in dishwashers and doorbells among other things. Take the cover off your families’ doorbell, or get an old one that is going to the trash. Watch what happens as someone pushes the doorbell.
  • Here is a free printable magnetism workbook from Layers of Learning.


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