Science Experiment: The Confused Magnet
Whether you want your kids to learn more about magnetic concepts or just have something to keep their brains active on snow days, this fun experiment is the perfect activity. It is one of the numerous projects you can complete by creating a magnetic pyramid, meaning there is even more fun to be had in our upcoming blogs. For now, let’s look at how you can set up and conduct this experiment.
Your magnets can easily be purchased at Apex Magnets through our online store. Links to the magnets needed for this experiment are linked in our complete list of supplies. Other items are either in your craft workshop or available with a quick trip to the store.
Here is what you will need:
- Ceramic Ring Magnets (3/4"OD X 1/4"ID X 1/4" thick)
- Bar magnets (½”x1/8”x1/8”)
- Small rubber bands
- 12” bamboo skewers
Creating Your Pyramid
While children can conduct the actual experiment, under adult supervision, we recommend that a parent or guardian creates the pyramid needed to perform your research. The process is straightforward but requires scissor usage and wrapping small rubber bands around the skewers, which could be tricky for a young child.
Construct your pyramid by following these steps:
- Use scissors to cut an 8” piece of string. Put your ring magnet through it and tie the string tightly, with the knot forming just above the magnet.
- Connect two skewers by overlapping them slightly at their ends and tying a rubber band around them. Do this one more time with your third skewer to make a triangle shape. Lay the design down flat.
- Connect two additional skewers, separate from what you just created, and tilt them vertically. Tie them to your base. Your knots should be made right above two of the three knots you tied during step two.
- Tie the loose end of your string with the magnet around another skewer. Before tying that final skewer to the others at the top, make sure your ring magnet will be about 1 ½ inches above the base of the table or whatever surface your pyramid is sitting on. If it is not, retie it. Once it is at the correct height, tie your final skewer down to connect it to the base and the two other vertical skewers.
- Place a bar magnet in the middle of all three sides of your base underneath the skewers.
Now, the real fun begins! Call your kids into the room and have them watch in awe as they conduct this unique experiment. Have them swing the string and ring magnet and watch as it bounces back and forth while entering the different magnetic fields from the bar magnets. The magnet will move hectically, making it look confused about where it is going. You can even move your bar magnets around to see if they alter the ring’s path.
As this happens, teach your children that each magnet has a north and south pole. Tell them that one end attracts and the other repels, creating the sporadic movements of the magnetic ring.
Learn More with Apex Magnets
As mentioned above, we have a few more ideas for you to try with this magnetic triangle, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn to stay up to date. You can even subscribe to our monthly newsletter to have our latest projects sent right to your inbox. If you ever have a question about an experiment, just call us at 1-304-257-1193 to speak with a helpful associate.