Electricity and Magnetism | Forces and Motion

Hanging with magnetism!

Classroom Activity for 5-11 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

This is a simple demonstration which is guaranteed to capture the children's interest and can serve to really open up the idea of action without contact.

What to Prepare

  • clamp stand
  • a very powerful permanent magnet
  • iron object – the larger the better so long as the magnet will support it, or if the available magnets are more feeble, a paper clip
  • thread

What Happens During this Activity

Clamp the magnet at the top of the stand. Tie the iron object to one end of the thread, secure the other end to the foot of the clamp stand and hold the object towards the magnet. If the gap between magnet and object is not too great, the object will hover in space!

Use this as a demonstration at the start of introducing magnets as objects that can act without contact, over a distance. It provides a highly engaging display of magnetic action at a distance at work.

As an extension you might also try slipping different materials in the gap between the magnet and the hanger to find out if the hanger can be shielded from the force of the magnet. The hanger falls away when a sheet of magnetic material is placed in the gap.

can be analysed using Magnetic Field
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