Items Needed to Make a Compass
One thing to note before you start is that if you are using a strong magnet, such as a rare earth magnet, you want to be careful around any electronics you may be using.
For this experiment my daughter wanted to test a couple different things. She wanted to explore how the strength of a magnet affected the creation of her compass and she wanted to explore if that varied based on the weight/thickness of the needle/nail.
Once you have all of your supplies you will rub your needle against the magnet about 5-10 times. Make sure that you are rubbing the needle in the same direction every single time. Your needle should now be magnetized.
Then fill a wide bowl with about an inch of water and push your needle through the cork.
One thing we did discover is that if the cork is too big it is a bit of a bugger to get it to work, so I would suggest cutting your cork down to a smaller size.
Then put the cork disc (with needle) into the center of your water dish and watch what it does! You want to try to keep your cork away from the sides of the dish, but that can be a tad difficult.
Ours kept on floating down to the bottom of our dish, but it worked!
The next thing we tested was how the strength of the magnet affected our compass. For this, we used a new needle and a fridge magnet.
Using the same amount of sweeps across the magnet did not work. However, when we increased the rubbing to about 20 swipes it did then also work.
The last experiment that we did was how the weight of the needle affected the compass. For this, we used a heavier nail.
For the life of us, we could not get the nail to balance evenly. No matter what we did then tip pointed down. Other than that, though, it also worked! The neat thing about having both side by side in the dish was that they also repelled each other!
This was a really neat science experiment for kids that learning how to make a temporary (weak) magnet and observe how that magnet interacted with the Earth’s magnetic field!
More Fun Stem Experiments!
Child-led STEAM Density Investigation at Life Over C’s
Snack Time Engineering Easy STEAM Project for Kids at Handmade Kids Art
STEM Books for Teaching/Homeschooling Kids at The Jenny Evolution
STEM Activities for Kids in the Kitchen at iGame Mom
PEEPS STEAM Activities at Schooling a Monkey
STEM Challenge: Edible Sedimentary Rocks Model at Preschool Powol Packets
Math Magic: Finding Center of a Circle at Planet Smarty Pants
Tinker Toys STEM Pulley at Sugar Aunts
Hot Chocolate Science at Creative Family Fun
Candy Science: Easy Erosion Experiment for Kids at Sugar, Spice, & Glitter
Original article and pictures take http://parentingchaos.com/how-to-make-a-compass/ site