How to Make an Electromagnet (minibook freebie included!)

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For all the science lovers out there, this is a fun student-led project they will love!

Building a working magnet doesn’t require a motor or fancy equipment. Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating their project in small groups or as a whole group lesson.

Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating an electromagnet in small groups or as a whole group lesson.

Science Learning Fun

Or in our class, we say “Como Hacer un Electroimán.”

Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating an electromagnet in small groups or as a whole group lesson.

Science is really not my strength, but I am learning to appreciate it more and more as I teach it in my classroom. My students had a blast with this simple electromagnet activity, so I thought I’d share. And a big thanks as always to Charity for the opportunity!

Keep in mind that this basic tutorial is more for science teachers like me, not for those Bill Nye the Science Guy teachers who seem to effortlessly understand all the complexities of our universe!

So let’s get cracking!

First, you need some version of the following:

Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating an electromagnet in small groups or as a whole group lesson.
  • Iron nails or some type of iron bar
  • Wire trimmers/cutters
  • Insulated wire
  • D battery

Creating Your Electromagnet with Students

Now, for the how-to:

  1. Cut a fairly long length of wire.
  2. Wrap the wire around the nail as tightly and evenly as possible without gaps (make sure to leave a tail of wire at each end to connect to the battery).
  3. Strip the two tail ends of the wire with a wire cutter, exposing the metal.
  4. Connect each tail of the wire to the each end of the battery. You don’t need the case as seen in the pictures. You can place a rubber band length-wise around the battery and the ends of the cable.
  5. Touch the nail with items that magnets are attracted to, and you should find you have an electromagnet!
Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating an electromagnet in small groups or as a whole group lesson.

The wire coil job here is not perfect, but it was student-done, so I think it’s great!

Showing the students beforehand that the iron nail does not attract magnetic things will make the result afterwards even more exciting for you and the students.

Here is an accordion light bulb minibook that you can use in a science journal, lapbook, or just as a fun activity. Use it for students to record information during an electricity or light unit. Or to write down lightbulb ideas that they might have about any subject. Click the image for your free download.

Students will be wowed with the steps of the scientific method while they are creating an electromagnet in small groups or as a whole group lesson.

Happy Teaching! (Or in my case, Happy Learning as I Teach!)

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