Visualizing Magnetic Field Lines

This Visualizing Magnetic Field Lines activity & project also includes:

Magnetic fields might not be a field of dreams but they are useful. Class members observe the reactions of magnetic fields using a compass, iron filings in a paper container, and iron filings suspended in mineral oil. 

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Instructional Ideas

  • Use an overhead and model what you want the class to do on their piece of paper
Classroom Considerations

  • The activity requires a magnet, compass, mineral oil, and iron filings for every class member
  • Before the activity, prepare a bottle of mineral oil with iron filings or steel wool for each class member
  • The second resource in the 14-part series

  • The activity allows the class to observe the magnetic field in both two and three dimensions
  • The post-activity assessment has pupils journal the answer to several questions

  • None