This science project teaches us how to make magnets. We also investigate what objects are attracted to magnets.
A magnet is something that attracts (or pulls) objects towards it. This horseshoe magnet has pulled an iron bar towards it from a distance of 3 centimeters. We can say that magnetism is a force that can attract objects from a distance.
A magnetic force is different to the pulling force you need if you want to pull a chair towards you. When you pull a chair towards you, you will need to hold onto the chair. If you do not hold onto the chair it will not move! Pulling a chair is a direct pulling force.
There are some rocks that are naturally magnetic. One type of rock that is very magnetic is called ‘lodestone’. In the picture below it looks like paperclips have been glued to the rock, but this is not what happened. The paper clips have been pulled towards (attracted to) the rock because ‘lodestone’ is naturally magnetic.
Lodestone is formed through volcanic activity. When a volcano erupts, very hot liquid rocks are forced upwards out of the volcano from deep inside the Earth.
These red hot liquids (volcanic lavas) flow down the side of the volcano and cool down.
What an amazing sight!
After cooling down the lava flows become solid (solidify) and some become lodestone rocks.
Over millions of years the rocks sometimes end up in rivers where they are worn down into smaller and smaller pieces.
These smaller lumps of rock are washed down to the seashore. Once on the seashore the action of the waves grind the rocks into yet smaller pieces until they become sand….. and a black beach is formed!
The sand on black beaches is often magnetic and made of lodestone sand! It even sticks to magnets!
Great for bathing in! On beaches near Kawhia on New Zealand’s North Island hot poopls of water bubble up out of the magnetic sand onto the beach.
These are made in factories and come in all different shapes, sizes and different strengths of magnetism. Because they are made in factories they often have strong ‘pulling power’ and do not lose their magnetism.
These are coils of wire surrounding a piece of iron. When the electric current is turned on the iron nail becomes a magnet. When the electric current is switched off the electromagnet loses its magnetic power of attraction.
It is now your chance to make a magnet! The magnet that you make in the classroom will probably not keep its magnetism for longer than a few days, so we”ll call it a ‘temporary’ magnet. You will need a nail, a permanent bar magnet, some paper and sellotape. Follow the instructions carefully in this video;
Write a factual account explaining how you made your magnet. How did you test your nail magnet to make sure it worked?