Hanging with magnetism!
Classroom Activity for 5-11 11-14
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
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.