Education Technology

Induced Magnetic Fields

Activity Overview

In this activity, students will use a strong permanent magnet to induce a magnetic field in a metal object. They will measure the magnitude and direction of the magnetic field around the permanent magnet and around the induced magnet. They will also compare how magnetic field strength changes with distance from a permanent magnet and with distance from a permanent magnet attached to a metal object.

Key Steps

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    Students should touch the magnet's south pole to the curved end of the paper clip (the same end they touched to the north pole in step 7). They should again remove the magnet and re-record the magnetic field strength (using –1 as the data value). Students should then stop the data collection, but they should not close the data collection box. 

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    Students should move the magnet so its south pole is at the 1 cm mark, wait for the reading to stabilize, and then record a second data point (using –1 as the data value). Students should stop the data collection, close the data collection box, and disconnect the interface. Students should then answer questions 1 and 2.

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    Students should repeat step 5 seven more times, moving the magnet 1 cm farther from the sensor each time. (You may adjust the increments if necessary, based on the particular magnets students are using.)