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# Magnet Science Projects

<<Magnets & Magnetism

### Project 1: What's the Attraction?

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.

#### What You Will Need:

• Plastic or wooden ruler
• Paperclip
• Two or more different magnets
• Notebook
• Pencil

#### What To Do:

1. Lay the ruler flat on a hard, smooth surface (try a table or desk).
2. Line the paperclip up along the end of the ruler so that one side of the paperclip is at the ruler's zero mark.
3. Place one magnet at the other end of the ruler. Now, hold the ruler in place with one hand and slowly slide the magnet toward the paperclip with your other hand. When the paperclip attaches to the magnet, stop moving the magnet.
4. Look at where the magnet was at along the ruler to see how far apart the magnet and paperclip were when they came together. (You might need to try it a few times before you are sure!) Write down the distance in your notebook. Draw a picture of the magnet that you used so you will remember which one it was.
5. Do steps 1-4 again with each of the magnets that you have.

What's Happening?

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?

Project 2: Which Magnet Is the Strongest?

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!

What You Will Need:

• Several magnets
• Box of paperclips
• Notebook
• Pencil

What To Do:

1. Have your helper hold on to one end of one of the magnets. Stick one paperclip to the other end of the magnet. One end of the paperclip should dangle off the magnet. (Your magnet may be really strong, so you may need your helper to hold the paperclip so just an end is touching the magnet rather than the side of the paperclip, like in the picture.)
2. Now touch another paperclip to the end of the first paperclip to start a paperclip chain. Keep adding paperclips until no more stick to the chain. In your notebook, write down how many paperclips the magnet was able to hold together in a chain before paperclips started to fall off.
3. Do steps 1 & 2 with the other magnets, recording in your notebook how many paperclips would stick in a chain to each magnet.

What's Happening?

When a magnet touches another magnetic object (such as a paperclip), the object becomes a temporary magnet for 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.

Important Science Terms
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.