Mad Science Challenge: N is for North

Mad Science Challenge: N is for North

Teach your kids about magnetic poles during the season when the chilly North Pole is a very hot topic. This experiment uses paper clips to demonstrate magnetization. Paper clips are made of steel, and steel is a metal that can be magnetized. Metals that magnetize all have magnetic domains in them. These domains can face up, down, left, or right. When the metal is brushed with a magnet, the domains line up and face the same way. This creates a magnetic field. The more you brush the paperclip with the magnet, the more it magnetizes. Did you know that the Earth is a big magnet? Magnetic fields flow from one pole to the other pole.

What you need:

Shallow bowl of water Paper clip

Foam plate Scissors

Magnet Marker

Compass (optional)

What you do:

Step 1: Brush the paperclip across the magnet 10-20 times. Always brush it in the same direction.

Step 2: Touch your paper clip to a piece of metal, such as the scissors, to test whether it is magnetized. If they stick together, then it is!

Step 3: Draw a circle on the foam plate; it should be a bit bigger than the paper clip. Cut out the circle.

Step 4: Write the letter N at one end of the circle and the letter S at the opposite end of the circle.

Step 5: Float the circle in the bowl of water.

Step 6: Center your magnetic paper clip on the circle to connect the N and the S letters. What happens?


Written By: “Cosmic” Christine, Chief Mad Scientist, Mad Science of so NH & no MA

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