Neodymium magnets are not only useful for organizing clutter or making crafts, but also for demonstrating the unique properties of magnetism and magnetic fields. If you’re looking for an easy and fun science experiment, check out this magnetic tutorial for a hollow pyramid with a ring magnet:

Supplies:

Directions:

  1. First, cut about 8 inches of string and tie the string securely through the ring magnet.
  2. Next, create the base of your pyramid shape by connecting 3 of the skewers using the small rubber bands. You can secure the ends of the 3 skewers together to create a triangle.
  3. To finish creating the pyramid shape, take the 3 remaining skewers and connect them all loosely at one end using string. This end will be the apex of your pyramid. The other ends of the 3 skewers should attach to the 3 corners of your base triangle. You can use string or rubber bands to secure them tightly to the corners.
  4. Once you have a pyramid shape, remove the loosely tied string from the apex of your pyramid. Take the string you tied to the ring magnet and secure the point of your pyramid with the other end of the string. You can tie it so that the ring magnet dangles down the center of the pyramid.

Now that you have your hollow pyramid set up with the ring magnet hanging in the center, you can start experimenting with magnets!

Experiments

First, you can make the ring magnet move around without touching it by manipulating one or two of the bar magnets. You can slide them around the base of your pyramid or wave them along the sides and see where the hanging magnet goes.

Next, you can place one bar magnet on each side of the base of your triangle. Then pull your ring magnet up and let it go so it swings down. If your bar magnets aren’t too far away, instead of falling back into place the ring magnet should bounce around and attract to each of the bar magnets indecisively.

Last, put two bar magnets side by side at the center of the base of your pyramid so they are below the point. Pick up the ring magnet and let it fall again so it swings down. Instead of swinging around until it loses momentum, the ring magnet will attract to both bar magnets at the same time. As a result of these two attractions, the ring magnet should almost vibrate.

These experiments demonstrate how magnetic fields interact with each other based on proximity and strength. You can use different sizes of bar magnets and ring magnets to see if you get different results. What else can you learn from these magnetic experiments?