Here we present two exciting kids science experiments that you can do at home. At once familiar and mysterious, magnets are one of the most interesting scientific phenomena for kids.
They can make objects appear to float in mid-air, they stick to some objects but not others, and children with an advanced knowledge of science know that the force inside a magnet is the same force that powers our electronic devices and that is contained in every beam of light.
How strong are your magnets?
Different magnets have different strengths. This is a kids science experiment that helps demonstrate not only the strengths of different magnets, but also the scientific methodology for testing that strength.
- 30-50 identical iron rings or washers
- loop of string
- 5-10 magnets of different sizes and strengths
- postal scale
1. Using the string, tie together “bundles” of washers. One bundle with 1, one with 2, etc.
2. Hold the magnet steady and attach the smallest bundle. If it stays on its own, replace it with the bundle of two. Continue in this way until the magnet is unable to hold up the bundle on its own.
Weigh the largest bundle that was held up by the magnet, and write down the weight in pounds or ounces. This is the strength of that magnet
3. Repeat for all magnets. Which one was the strongest?
How to Make an Electromagnet
Electromagnets are fascinating devices that can act like magnets or not, depending upon whether an electric current is present. This kids science project shows kids how to make their own electromagnets.
This one is a little tougher, and will definitely require adult supervision. As always, be careful around electricity and do not use too strong a battery. 6 volts is plenty.
- 6-volt battery
- at least 1 meter of insulated wire
- large iron nail
- paper clips
1. Wrap the wire several times around the nail (at least 7-10 turns). Attach the other ends of the wire to the battery terminals
2. Try to pick up the paper clips. What happens when one end of the wire is detached from the battery?
3. Try it again with only 1 loop around the nail. How does it work this time?
5. Now repeat the trial. How many paper clips could you pick up this time?
6. Do some reading on electromagnets. Why does the coil of wire make the nail act like a magnet?
*TIP: Depending on the age of the child, there are many different variables that can be tested along with these kids science experiments. For example, what kind of materials must the nail be made of for this to work? Will it work with a pencil? An aluminum tube? You can also try out different kinds of wires.
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