Make a compass

posted in: Arts and Crafts, STEM! | 0

You will need:

  • A needle 
  • A piece of sponge or cork 
  • A (non-metallic) bowl of water 
  • A magnet 


10 minutes

The science bit

The metal needle is made up of things called domains that are all pointing in different directions. By rubbing the magnet against the sewing needle, you made the domains all point in the same direction – or in other words you magnetized the needle. Now, because the earth itself acts as giant magnet, one end of the needle is attracted to the pull of the magnetic south pole, and the other end to the magnetic north pole! Cool, huh? 



Fill your bowl with water. 


Push the needle through the middle of the sponge – you might need an adult to help you with this.


Rub the pointed end of the needle with the magnet for 10-15 seconds .



Put the sponge (with the needle through) into the bowl of water. You should see it spin a bit and then stop. 


One end of your needle is now pointing North, and one end is pointing South! If you want to work out which is which, try looking at a map of your street for more clues 


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