Electricity and Magnetism

Moody magnets

At home for 5-11 11-14

What you need

  • Two flat, rectangular fridge magnets (if you only have circular magnets, you’ll need to do some experimenting to feel this effect!)


  1. Place the magnets side by side on a table: one face up and one face down
  2. Put one magnet on top of the other so that the two magnetic sides are touching. Try to slide them apart along the longest side. How easily do they slide?
  3. Try sliding them apart again, but this time along the shortest side. How well do the magnets slide now?

Results and Explanation

Fridge magnets are made from thin strips of magnets with alternating north and south poles. As you try to slide the magnets across each other, the thin strips are being continually attracted and then repelled making the magnets judder.

These experiments have not been specifically safety tested for home use but we believe them to be safe if the instructions are followed. Adult supervision or direction is recommended as appropriate. All experiments are carried out at your own risk.

can be analysed using Magnetic Field
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