Magical Magnets

Magnets can be found in every facet of modern life. This presentation explored some of the unique properties that make magnets so valuable.

Educational objective

Explore ferromagnetism and how it affects its surroundings. Explore the intimate relation between electricity and magnetism, and how this coupling can be used in technology.


This material was presented to a group of high school students (grades 9-11) with limited understanding of magnetism.


This presentation has no prerequisites.

Materials Required

  • Iron filing
  • Rubber cements
  • Wax paper
  • Steel nails
  • Magent wire
  • 9V batteries
  • Strong earth magnets
  • Small plastic cups
  • Wire strippers

(Runtime: 60 minutes)

  1. Discussion of where magnets are used in everyday life.
  2. Discussion of magnetic interaction.

Magnetic field lines

  1. Place magnet on table.
  2. Place wax paper over the magnet.
  3. Sprinkle iron filings onto the wax paper.
  4. Observe the magnetic field lines.

Homemade Earth Magnet

  1. Add small quantity of rubber cement into cup.
  2. Add Iron filings used in the previous experiment.
  3. Place wad of glue onto wax paper over earth magnet.
  4. Let cure for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from wax paper.
  6. Test magnetic properties on iron filings.

Electromagnet from Nail and Wire

  1. Wrap magnet wire around nail (at least 150 turns).
  2. Strip the ends of the magnet wire.
  3. Attach the wire ends to the battery leads.
  4. Test the magnetic properties of the nail on iron filings.

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