Teacher Notes

HOW TO MAKE AN ELECTROMAGNET

Created by:
JoAnne Towles
Diocese of Orange 
URL: http://www.can-do.com/uci/lessons99/electro.html
URL:  http://www-sci.lib.uci.edu/SEP/CTS99/electro.html

Purpose:
To increase understanding of relationship between electricity and magnetism by creating
a magnetic field. To make an electromagnet and explain how and why  it works.
 



 
Resources Needed:
 
Warm-up activity Bar magnet Plastic bag (facilitates clean-up), Lead filings. Paper (8x11)
Teacher Spool of wire,Scissors,Paper clips, Battery (size may vary)
Student  Length of wire (about 15 cm), D cell battery,Nail (about 8 cm)

Your Task     

Warm-up Activity
  • Place bar magnet in plastic bag. Put paper on top of paper so  that magnet is approximately in the middle of the paper.  Shake lead filings onto paper where magnet is.
  • Be prepared to share your observations and explain them. 
Teacher Activity
  • Children must use eyes and ears only! 

  • POSITIVELY NO MOUTH!
  • Children observe while teacher demonstrates that scissors by

  • themselves are not magnets.
     
  • Teacher takes coil of wire,and attaches ends of wire to battery.

  • Teacher inserts scissors in center of coil and attempts to pick up
    paper clips.  SUCCESS!  Scissors are now magnets. Tell why --- continue discussion until connection is made to warm-up activity.
Student Activity
  • Student pick up nail and attempt to use it as a magnet.

  •  
  • Student wraps length of wire around nail leaving ends of

  • wire and pointed end of nail exposed.
     
  • Attach these ends to D cell battery.
  • Use this end of nail to pick up paper clips. Why does this

  • work? Continue discussion until connection is made with
    both other activities.
  • Independent Practice
 
A Few Web Resources:
Electromagetism
Interactive Physics  (Electricity and Magnetism) -requires shockwave plugin
Electromagnetic Waves -java applet
How an electromagnet works
Check out topics about electricity by searching  - How things work
Electricity -various topics to explore

 
 
Quick Links - Select and click "Go"

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E-Mail: jmtowles@hotmail.com
 
Last Updated August 21, 1999