Make a Magnet



You can make your own magnet with a needle.  Needles are made of steel, which is mostly iron.  Hold the eye of the needle. (It has the hole.) Make sure you hold it carefully so you don't stick yourself!

 Stroke the needle along one end of a magnet. Move along the magnet in only one direction: from the eye of the needle to the point, not back and forth.  Do this twenty or thirty times.

Touch the end if the needle to a tack, a paper clip, or another needle.  Your needle will lift them up.  You have made a magnet.

The bigger and strong a magnet is, the more objects it will pick up at once.

If for some reason your needle magnet doesn't work, stroke it again across the magnet a few more times.

Have fun!  Your needle magnet is a little one, but there are very large magnets.  In fact, the whole Earth is a magnet.  You can prove it!


First, use your needle magnet to make a compass.  Get two small pieces of foam plastic or cork.  Stick a piece on each end of your needle, being careful not to stick yourself.

The float the needle in a bowl of water.  The needle will swing around so one end points north.  Keep the needle in the center of the bowl, so it can swing freely.  Turn the needle around.  When you let go, the same end will again point north.

Make a large dot with magic marker on that end.  You have made a compass.

The ends of the magnet are different.  One is called the north seeking pole, or simply the north pole. In  your compass, it's the one with magic marker on it. The other end is the south pole.

Magnets are strongest at the poles, as stated earlier.

Your compass points north because the Earth is a magnet.  The north pole of the compass points toward the north pole of the Earth magnet.  No matter how you turn your compass, it will always point north when you let it go.

The Earth is a magnet because it contains a lot of iron.  The moon doesn't have as much iron, so it is not a magnet.  Your compass would not work on the moon!


Information from What Makes a Magnet? By: Franklyn M. Branley