St. Patrick’s Day is usually associated with lucky clovers, leprechauns, and gold at the end of rainbows. Unfortunately, gold is not magnetic so it’s more difficult to find even when using a rainbow as a map. What metals are magnetic? Here’s a fun St. Patrick’s Day-themed science experiment you can try to determine what materials have magnetic properties and how they move through different density’s when a magnetic field is applied:

Supplies:

  • 4 Plastic water bottles with lids
  • Green glitter
  • Green pipe cleaners, straws, and paper clips
  • Small coins
  • 2 Disc magnets
  • Popsicle stick
  • Superglue
  • Olive oil
  • Corn Syrup
  • Iron filings
  • Tape (optional)

Directions:

  1. First, make your magnetic wand using the popsicle stick and disc magnets. Glue the neodymium disc magnets to one end of the stick. You can make more festive with green paint or glitter.
  2. Next, fill the bottles:
    • Bottle 1: For the first bottle, add some iron filings then fill it about two-thirds with corn syrup.
    • Bottle 2: Fill the second bottle halfway with olive oil then add water, green glitter, and iron filings until it’s full.
    • Bottle 3: Fill this one two-thirds full with corn syrup. Add coins, paper clips, beads, and any other small metal objects you have.
    • Bottle 4: For this one, just add coins, paper clips, beads, iron filings, and other metal objects. Don’t add any liquids to the fourth bottle.
  1. Make sure all of the bottles are sealed tightly. You can use tape around the lids to make sure they don’t leak.

Now, you’re ready to experiment! Just use your magnetic wand to test the materials in each bottle for magnetic properties. The powerful magnet should attract metals through the bottles and the liquids. The objects that follow your wand have magnetic properties. How do the objects with magnetic properties move through the bottle with no liquid compared to the bottles filled with syrup, oil, and water? Not only does this experiment show which metals and objects have magnetic properties, but it also demonstrates the differences is density and viscosity of liquids.

Good luck with your magnetic St. Patrick’s Day science experiment!