We have several magnet projects on this site. But this one, by far, is my favorite. If you want to know why, read on!
Time - Give yourself about three weeks to do this one.
1. At least four different kinds of magnest (round, u-shape, bar etc.)
2. At least 200 uncoated (no paint or plastic) metal paper clips
3. Two plates or bowls
4. Pencil or pen
6. Graph paper
7. Camera (with video capabilities) and tripod or someone to help.
8. Cardboard for display (order here on Amazon)
10. Construction paper
11. Computer (optional)
If you do it right, magnet projects can be some of the most rewarding science fair projects. This magnet project is no exception.
Today we're asking a lot of you. We want you to be a careful scientist. If you do this right, things will turn out great. But don't cheat or shortcut. You want to be a good scientist, whether you're doing magnet projects or any other kind of science fair entry. You need to be a good scientist. And good scientists always research their subject first. So...
...let's research our magnet science fair project. We need to find all we can about magnets. It would be a good idea to go to your local library and find out all you can about magnets. Ask the library assistant to help you find good sources that talk about magnets and magnet projects. The internet is also a great place to find information on magnets. Your parents may have some ideas to help as well. So ask them too.
While you're researching, try to think of questions to ask yourself. What makes magnets work? Are there different shape magnets? If so, why? These and other questions will help you find out all you can about magnets.
All this information should give you enough information to go to the next very important step...
Ask the important question...
Do two magnets double magnetic power?
This is a good question because it'll be easy to do in any room of our house. But don't try it yet. We need to answer our important question first!
Let's do that now.
Do you think putting two magnets together will make them stronger?
Write down your guess on a piece of paper. Don't change it until you see what the experiment does first. Remember...
...we call this guess our hypothesis. It's the most important part of our project!
Now it's time to get your stuff from the list above. Let's move to the next step.
Now comes the fun part...
First, dump the paper clips on one of the plates. Set another empty plate nearby as a "landing pad" for your paper clips. Don't put the plates too close together. But each plate needs to be within your reach.
Next, test each magnet by itself. Do this by seeing how many paper clips you can pick up from the first plate and move to the second plate. Be careful when you repeat the process with each magnet. You want to be fair with each magnet by doing it exactly the same way each time. Repeat this process at least five times with each magnet...
Make sure you write your results down on a piece of paper. You'll use these numbers in the next step.
Now, count up how many paper clips you got with each magnet each time. Average the number by adding the total number of paperclips from each try with each magnet. Then divide that number by the number of tries for each magnet. You should have a separate average for each magnet you use
Next, choose two of any of your magnets. Put them together and see how many paper clips you can pick up with the combined magnets. Do this five times with this pair of magnets and write down the number of paperclips you got over to the second plate. Now, repeat this process with any of the other five pairs of magnets.
You may even want to try this with three or four magnets together. If you do this, make sure to do it several times with each grouping of magnets.
Finally, average all tries from each magnet pair so that you have one number for each of them. This is the information you'll use in the next step.
Now, take your averages from each magnet individually and the ones that were paired and copy those numbers neatly in a finalized form onto a graph or chart.
You may also want to note which magnet groupings had the highest and lowest number of paperclips in one try. And you'll want to note which results (number of paperclips per try) came up the most. Make sure your information is clearly labeled and tells the "story" of your experiment.
If you need any help with graphing click here. Here's a generic graph to give you a little bit of an idea what it should look like. Remember...
It needs to be neat!
Put as many results as you can in your charts. Have two or three that represent the different results you discovered (i.e. one chart = averages, another = your highest and lowest numbers, etc.)
It's time to tell what you've noticed. Magnet projects are just experiments without a report. So, we'll write a report about what you saw.
You should include...
1. What you guessed about the magnet experiment.
2. What you did with the magnets.
3. Which magnet or magnets did the best...the worst?
4. If your guess was correct about how the magnets would work.
Be careful to obey all the school rules for your science fair report. One paragraph for each of your grade levels will do if you weren't given how long it should be. Be detailed as well. But make it neat.
If you want a little help with you report
click here to find great ideas to get you started and get you through!
Let's go to the final step...
Now you get to make the display!
Carefully put three pieces of cardboard together so it looks like this...
If you want more information about how to put together and arrange displays click here.
You can buy displays at many retail stores as well. However you do it, make sure you follow science fair rules!
Now, on a piece of paper neatly write your important question and your guess. If you would like, type it. You might get style points!
Now, just like you did your important question, write (or type) your supply list on a separate piece of paper.
Paste your guess, supply list and report onto your display board along with any pictures you might have taken. Make sure you label each so the judges know what is what. Making sure everything looks good is important!
Try playing with some of the display ideas you see. You don't have to use the exact ones we use. Make them fun! Be creative!
And don't forget to name your project at the top of the display board. It's best to use your important question as the title. You may want to purchase stencils to make cutouts of letters. Or you may purchase already made letters at many retail stores.
Magnet projects can effectively demonstrate scientific principles if you do them correctly. So be careful to follow all steps that are listed. Don't shortcut. Judges can tell when you do just an "OK" job. Put your best into it! And most of all...
Have fun with your magnet project!