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Magnet-mobile

Be a Scientist

Magnets have amazing invisible forces. Use this force to make a magnet-mobile that appears to move on its own.

Magnet Mobile

Materials

  • 2 magnets
  • 2 small stickers (or small pieces of tape)
  • small toy car
  • tape

What to do

  1. Try bringing the sides of the magnets together, and identify the poles — the ends or sides of a magnet where the magnetic force is strongest — that repel each other. Mark these poles with a small sticker.
  2. Tape one magnet on the toy car, near the back, with the sticker facing out.
  3. Without touching the car, hold the other magnet near the back of the car, with the stickers facing each other. Observe what happens.

Did You Know?

The north and south ends of the Earth are called the north and south poles. Because of the Earth’s iron-nickel core, the Earth itself acts as a magnet with two poles and an enormous magnetic field.

What happened?

When you brought the two magnets close to each other, you may have noticed that the car began to move. This is because when like poles of two magnets are brought together, the magnets repel — the magnetic fields push away from each other. The magnet attached to the car was pushing away from the magnet in your hand, making the car appear to move on its own.

Magnets have an invisible force by which they can attract or repel certain objects. This invisible force is called a magnetic field. It attracts metallic materials like iron and attracts or repels other magnets. This magnetic field gives a magnet two “poles” — north and south. Placing opposite poles together causes magnets to attract. Placing like poles together causes magnets to repel.

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