This science experiment teaches us how to make our own magnetized ‘needles’.We can then use our magnetized needles to make compasses.
You can either make a ‘wet’ compass that floats on water or a ‘dry’ compass that is suspended in a cup.
Remember that no matter what type of compass you make,wet or dry, you will have to ‘magnetize’ your nail (or needle) properly first. Be patient as it can take up to 10 minutes before your nail will become completely magnetized!
You will have to use a nail containing large quantities of iron, nickel or cobalt, but not one made out of copper, aluminium, silver or gold!
In fact there are far more metals that are non magnetic than magnetic.
In reality most nails that you use will have a large amount of iron in them. The more iron (cobalt or nickel) your nail contains, the stronger the magnet you will be able to make.
Remember that when you place your magnetized nail in a bowl of water it moves around until it aligns itself in a north-south direction. One end (the north pole) will point to the earth’s north pole and the other end (south pole) will point to the earth’s south pole.