Experiments with Magnets

Experiment A: What Kinds of Things Are Magnetic?

1. Using your magnet, test a variety of objects in the room to see if they are magnetic.

Item ___________________________ Is it magnetic? _____
Item ___________________________ Is it magnetic? _____
Item ___________________________ Is it magnetic? _____

Narrow down your tests. Is all metal magnetic? ________________

2. Can something that isn't a magnet become a magnet? Take a dissecting pin and rub a magnet along its edge in one direction for 30 strokes.

Does it become magnetized ? ___________
How do you know? ______________________________________

Experiment B: How Strong is Your Magnet

1. Examine your magnet and the paper clip. Make a prediction about how many paper clips you can lift with one magnet. ______

Perform 5 Trials to test your hypothesis

Trial 1 _____ Trial 2 ____ Trial 3 ____ Trail 4 ____ Trial 5 ___

2. Will changing the direction of the magnet improve how many clips you can lift? ________

The experiment above isn't really a controlled experiment. The arrangement of the paperclips could have made the results somewhat random. To reduce the random elements we are going to control some of the variables by setting up an apparatus.

experiment set up

3. Place your magnet within a paperclip and tape the paperclip to the edge of the desk. You can also tape the magnet directly to the desk. This removes the variable of holding the magnet, which may cause it to jiggle and drop clips.

4. Bend a single paper clip so that it forms a hook. Slowly add more paper clips to the hook until it breaks. This will give you a more exact measurement of the strength of your magnet. Both you and your partner should test this.

Trial 1 ________ Trial 2 ________

Experiment C: Do Magnets Work Through Other Materials

Cut squares of masking tape about 1x1 inch. You will stick the masking tape on the bottom of your magnet. Now repeat your experiment and see how many paper clips you can hang on the hook. Make sure the hook touches the tape, not the magnet itself.

magnet tape

  1 Layer 2 Layers 3 Layers 4 Layers 5 Layers 6 Layers
Number of Paper clips            

Experiment D: What Range Does a Magnet Have?

1. In this experiment you will be testing your magnet with a single paper clip. Determine the distances your magnet can attract. Check if your magnet will attract the paper clip at a distance of:

__1 cm ___2 cm___3 cm___4 cm___5 cm___6 cm___7 cm___8 cm___9 cm___10 cm