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All magnets have the ability to attract other magnets or magnetic objects (such as iron and some other metal objects). But a magnet doesn't necessarily have to touch a magnetic object for the object to be attracted to it. Try this experiment to learn why.
All magnets have a magnetic field - an area around a magnet where its magnetism affects other objects. By measuring how far the magnet was from the paperclip when they become attached, you were finding the length of the magnetic field. Stronger magnets can generally attract magnetic materials from a farther distance than weaker magnets can. Based on that fact and the results you wrote in your notebook, which of your magnets was the strongest? Which one was weakest?
A good way to test how strong different magnets are is to see how many magnetic objects it can attract. Try this experiment with your magnets!
When a magnet touches another magnetic object (such as a paperclip), the object becomes a temporary magnetfor as long as it is touching the real magnet! It can now be used to pick up more paperclips. Each additional paperclip also becomes a temporary magnet with a weaker magnetic force than the one before it. Some magnets may be able to hold a chain of five paperclips while another magnet may only be able to hold one or two paperclips. How many paperclips a magnet can hold is a good indication of its strength. If you have a strong enough magnet and lift up the paperclips long enough, you may find that some of the paperclips will keep the ability to act like magnets for a little while even when they are not touching the magnet. If this happens, you have just made a very strong temporary magnet.
These words about magnets are used in the science projects. If you are not sure what they mean, just read the definitions below!
Magnetic object- any object that can be attracted to a magnet. Paperclips, iron filings, keys, and bobby pins are all examples of magnetic objects.
Magnetic field- an invisible area around a magnet where its magnetic force affects other objects. The magnetic field is what actually pulls other magnetic objects towards a magnet.
Temporary magnet- a magnetic object that can become a magnet when it is touching a permanent magnet but loses its magnetic properties when it is no longer touching the permanent magnet.