Electricity and Magnetism

Magnetic north and south

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

A south pole in the Northern Hemisphere

Thinking about the teaching

The point was made in the Physics Narrative that the Earth's magnetic pole in the Northern Hemisphere is, in fact, a south pole. This follows directly from defining the end of a compass needle which points north as the north seeking pole.

This is not an important point in terms of developing your pupils' understanding of magnetism. Furthermore, it is not something which you need refer to since a compass needle is all you need to find the north and south poles of a magnet.

Nevertheless if a pupil does ask the question:

Jef: So does that mean the magnetic north is a south pole?

… you can reply with absolute confidence:

Teacher: What an excellent question! Yes it does!

can be analysed using Magnetic Field
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