Magnets Science Experiment Make Your Own Compass PRINT and DIGITAL

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LaFountaine of Knowledge
Grade Levels
3rd - 6th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
16 print, 19 digital
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LaFountaine of Knowledge
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).
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  1. This bundle includes 10 hands-on science labs and activities all related to the Earth: rocks, fossils, minerals, crystals, tectonic plates, etc. This includes: Experiment: Modeling the Rock Cycle with StarburstExperiment: Modeling Tectonic Plates with Graham CrackersSTEM Challenge: Construct an Eart
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In this science experiment, students make a working compass using a magnet and a bowl of water. They'll learn that Earth is like a giant magnet. Its iron core creates a magnetic field with a north and south pole. The needle of the compass is attracted to the Earth's north pole. Because of this, compasses can be used to find cardinal directions.

This resource includes:

  • teacher directions, discussion questions, and extension activities
  • background information about compasses and how they work
  • step by step instructions, with photos, to walk students through the experiment
  • a video demonstration of the experiment in action
  • a student response worksheet
  • a scoring rubric
  • a force copy link to a digital Google Slides version

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Credits: Photos used with permission and sourced via Pixabay from Ylanite Koppens, Ariesjay Castillo, StockSnap, WikiImages, Artsy Bee Kids, yeTis, Pam Patterson, Alexander Lesnitsky, and fajarbudi86. All other photos were taken by Shea LaFountaine of LaFountaine of Knowledge. The magnet clipart is by Hidesy’s Clipart and the border on page 10 was created by Chirp Graphics, both used with permission. Fonts used include: Amatic SC by Vernon Adams and Coming Soon by Open Window. Fonts used with permission under open source licenses.  

Total Pages
16 print, 19 digital
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
45 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. Examples of an electric force could include the force on hair from an electrically charged balloon and the electrical forces between a charged rod and pieces of paper; examples of a magnetic force could include the force between two permanent magnets, the force between an electromagnet and steel paperclips, and the force exerted by one magnet versus the force exerted by two magnets. Examples of cause and effect relationships could include how the distance between objects affects strength of the force and how the orientation of magnets affects the direction of the magnetic force. Assessment is limited to forces produced by objects that can be manipulated by students, and electrical interactions are limited to static electricity.
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. Examples of devices that use electric and magnetic forces could include electromagnets, electric motors, or generators. Examples of data could include the effect of the number of turns of wire on the strength of an electromagnet, or the effect of increasing the number or strength of magnets on the speed of an electric motor. Assessment about questions that require quantitative answers is limited to proportional reasoning and algebraic thinking.
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations. Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.
Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets. Examples of problems could include constructing a latch to keep a door shut and creating a device to keep two moving objects from touching each other.


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