Demonstrating Magnetism

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Learning Outcomes

By the end of this activity, learners will:
  • Describe the shape of a magnetic field around a permanent magnet in terms of:
       - having 2 poles, north and south
       - having greater field strength near the poles, and weaker                   strength away from the poles
  • Describe how reversing the flow of electricity changes the polarity of an electromagnet
  • Describe electromagnets as temporary magnets which are “on” only when current flows
  • Compare electromagnets and permanent magnets

Curriculum Connections

  • Grades 5 - 8
  • Click here for a detailed description of the curriculum connections 

Length of Activity

1.5 hours

Materials List

  • Demonstrating Magnetism Backgrounder
  • Demonstrating Magnetism Learner Worksheet
  • Clear transparency film
  • Permanent bar magnet
  • 4 inch (10 cm) iron nail
  • Enamelled magnet wire (approximately 1.5 metres)
  • Weak dry cell battery with battery holder
  • Iron fillings
  • Matches or blade for stripping the ends of the wire
  • Sandpaper (small piece)
  • Compass (clear base orienteering style)
  • Overhead projector

Online Lesson Format