Pupil with plasma ball

Kit List

  • 9v Battery
  • Insulated copper wire
  • A Nail
  • Paper clips


  • Aluminium foil

Safety Notice

Ask an adult to help you with this experiment

What to do

  1. Find all of the items listed above in the equipment list.
  2. Strip the ends of the Insulated copper wire.
  3. Wrap the middle of the length of wire around the nail.
  4. Connect one end of the wire to the positive terminal of the battery.
  5. Connect the other end to the negative terminal of the battery.
  6. Your Electromagnet should be ready to go.
  7. Move the nail close to the paperclips and try and lift them up.

What's happening

You have just created a circuit. When electricity flows from the positive terminal around the circuit to the negative terminal this is called an electrical current.  When the electrical current flows through the coils around the nail it creates a magnetic field.  This magnetic field allows you to pick up magnetic items e.g Iron and Steel.

Some items are non-magnetic.  Try using your electromagnet to find out what items are magnetic and what items or non-magnetic and make a list.

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