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Science Projects for Kids: Magnets and Metal

Find the Earth's Poles

Use one of these magnets to find the Earth's poles.
Use one of these magnets to find the Earth's poles.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Make your own compass, and you can find the Earth's poles. You'll observe the magnetic pull of the poles when you do this science project for kids. And you'll have the chance to try finding the poles with two different types of compasses.

What You'll Need:

  • Modeling clay
  • Pencil
  • Horseshoe magnet
  • Needle
  • Waxed paper
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Water

Pencil and Horseshoe Magnet Compass

Step 1: Roll out a lump of modeling clay to form a firm base for a compass stand.


Step 2: Set the eraser end of the pencil in the base so the pencil is standing upright with the point up.

Step 3: Balance a horseshoe magnet on the tip of the pencil.

Once balanced, the magnet will align itself on a north-south line. This happens because the earth itself acts as a huge magnet with lines of force running between the North and South Poles. The compass automatically aligns itself with these invisible magnetic lines.

Needle and Magnet Compass

Step 1: Rub one end of the needle on the positive side of the magnet and the other end on the negative side. (Run the needle in one direction only -- not back and forth.)

Step 2: Cut a small circle of waxed paper, and stick the needle through the paper.

Step 3: Gently place the waxed paper in a bowl of water so it floats, and give it a spin. When the paper stops spinning, the needle will be lined up on a north-south line.

Go to the next page to find out how you can make two more kinds of compasses.

For more fun science projects for kids, check out: