Unlike the magnets that are used on refrigerators, electromagnets are magnets can be turned on and off depending on the flow of electricity. The electricity that flows through the wire allows the molecules on the in the nail to attract to certain things. Give this experiment a try, and see how many paper clips you can pick up with your electromagnet! 

8 - 16
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. magnet wire
  2. sandpaper
  3. scissors
  4. battery pack
  5. alligator clips
  6. bent staples
  7. large iron nail
  1. Wrap the magnet wire around the nail 20 times. Trim the wire, leaving a couple inches sticking out at the top and the bottom. 

  2. Use the sandpaper to scrape the coating off both ends of the wire. 

  3. Hook up the alligator clips to the battery pack, then connect them to the wires. 

  4. You've made a magnet! Now bring the tip of the nail close to some bent staples. How many can you pick up? 

    Note: When you're done tinkering, don't forget to disconnect the wire.The battery and wire can get hot!