Magnetism Experiment

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11911

Have you used a compass to tell where north and south are? Do you know why it works? It's because the earth is a great big magnet! Try some experiments to learn about magnets and what they do!


Scientific Method

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever had to pick up a heavy object?
  • Would it be hard to unload a truck full of heavy car parts?

Watch Junkyard Heavy Electric Magnet Machine Picking Up Scrap In Our Truck Fun For Kids by Under The Hood Show to see how it's done:

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  • What do you call that big piece of equipment that was able to lift those heavy parts?
  • Have you ever used a magnet?

Maybe you've played with magnets, or used them to hang pictures on your refrigerator.

  • What happened when you used them?
  • If you haven’t used a magnet before, what do you think it would be like?

In this lesson, you will experiment with magnets, but first it is important that you understand what magnets are and how they work.


A magnet is any item that pulls steel and iron close to it. Iron and steel are both metals that are attracted to magnets.

Some magnets are stronger than others. A refrigerator magnet has enough power to keep itself attached to the fridge.

Magnets can be even stronger than this! Some magnets are so strong, they can pull iron and steel all the way across a room! You saw how powerful the magnet in the scrapyard was!

fridge magnets

Magnets have two poles. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole.

If you want to stick two magnets together, you will need to attach the north pole to the south pole because with magnets, opposites attract. If you try to attach a north pole to a north pole, the magnets will repel, or push away, from each other. This is the same for two south poles.

Anytime two magnets attach together, picture a north and south pole connecting together.


All magnets are surrounded by a magnetic field. This field attracts and repels other magnets, and attracts steel and iron.

  • Can you see all the steel filings around the magnet pictured below?

These fillings show where the magnet’s magnetic field is. You can also see where the pull is the strongest by looking at where most of the fillings are attached to the magnet.

magnetic field

  • Did you learn some interesting facts about magnets?

Before moving on to the Got It? section and a fun experiment, explain what types of poles all magnets have.

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