Build an Electromagnet!
Did you know you can use electricity to make a magnet? Explore the magic and power of magnetism by building your very own electromagnet.
Students will understand that magnetism can be observed when there is an interaction between the magnetic fields of magnets or between a magnet and materials made of iron.
Investigate and compare the behavior of magnetism using magnets.
Describe how the magnetic field of Earth and a magnet are similar.
Analyze the behavior of current electricity.
Collect and alalyze data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
- 2 D batteries per group
- 1 two-D battery holder per group
- 1 long nail (approx. 3”) per group
- 30 paperclips per group
- 3-4 ft. insulated wire with alligator clips on each end per group
Before the Lesson
- Cut the insulated wire into lengths of 3-4 ft. for each group.
- Attach an alligator clip to each end of the wire.
- Use new batteries for best results.
- Dismantle battery from holder when not using to conserve battery strength
- Split students into groups of 2-4. Have students tightly wrap the insulated wire around the nail 15 times.
- Have the students clip one end of the coiled wire (using the alligator clip) to the wire protruding from one side of the battery pack. Then clip the other end if the coiled wire to the wire protruding from the other side of the battery pack.
- Insert batteries into the battery pack.
- The nail should now be a magnet. Place the nail over the paperclips and test to see how many paperclips their electromagnet will pick up. Record the result on the Lab Sheet.
- Repeat these steps adding more coils to the nail. Test how many paperclips can be picked up with 30 coils wrapped around the nail and 45 coils around the nail.
- Have student complete the lab sheet as they test their electromagnets.
This is a great introduction or conclusion video.
This video is better for older grades.
This video is in depth, but very good for educators and older grades.