Science Experiments – Up in the Air / Strength of a Magnet

We had 2 science experiments this week. The first one had the purpose of detecting and influencing a magnetic field.

We first started by attaching a magnet to the bottom of a pink cup. This cup is not normally used in our house because our 2 boys prefer to drink out of cups of other colors. I thought that this set of experiments would be a good opportunity to help this cup feel useful.
We then tied a string onto a paper clip and let the paper clip hang from the magnet. The string was taped to the table and then we pulled the end of the string. The paper clip seemed to hang in mid-air as it was no longer touching the magnet, but was still influenced by the surrounding magnetic field.

We passed sever objects in the space between the magnet and the paper clip to see what happened.
When we passed aluminum foil, an index card, and a penny in the gap, the paper clip was unaffected. However, when we passed a paper clip, a straight pin, and a metal washer in the gap, these things caused the paper clip on a string to wobble and fall.

We decided that it was other magnetic objects that influence the magnetic field. Non-magnetic objects do not influence the magnetic field.

In our second experiment, we used a similar setup to detect how the distance from the magnet affects the strength of its magnetic pull.

We did this by bending 1 paper clip like a hook and sticking it to the magnet. We then added as many other paper clips as the magnet would hold.

Eventually the paper clip hook would fall and wouldn’t be able to stick to the magnet any more.We then applied a piece of tape to the magnet, and again added as many paper clips as the magnet would hold.

We continued to add pieces of tape: 2, then 4, then 8, all the way up to 60 pieces of tape.

Each time, we counted the number of paper clips the magnet would hold. We graphed our results, which are shown below.


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