Create a Compass
What To Do


1

Cut out a small cube of foam, about 1/2 inch long on each side.

Cut out a small cube of foam, about 1/2 inch long on each  side.
2

Lay the needle flat against the magnet. Then rub the magnet one way against the needle. Do this 20 times, making sure you always run the magnet in the same direction. This will make your needle magnetic.

Lay the needle flat against  the magnet. Then rub the  magnet one way against  the needle. Do this 20 times,  making sure you always run  the magnet in the same  direction. This will make your  needle magnetic.
3

Stick the needle all the way through your piece of foam. Have an adult help you and be careful not to prick yourself!

Stick the needle all the way  through your piece of foam.  Have an adult help you and  be careful not to prick  yourself! Stick the needle all the way  through your piece of foam.  Have an adult help you and  be careful not to prick  yourself!
4

Float the foam and needle in your glass of water. The needle should lie parallel to the surface of the water. The glass, water, foam, and needle all together make up your compass!

Float the foam and needle in  your glass of water. The  needle should lie parallel to  the surface of the water. The  glass, water, foam, and needle  all together make up your  compass!
5

Place your compass on a flat surface and watch what happens. The needle should turn until one end points north and the other end points south. (Your needle is pointing toward the North Pole!)

Place your compass on a flat  surface and watch what  happens. The needle should  turn until one end points north  and the other end points south.  (Your needle is pointing  toward the North Pole!
6

Now place the bar magnet close to you compass. What happens? Try moving it closer and farther away. How close does the magnet have to be to have an effect on your compass?

Now place the bar magnet  close to you compass. What  happens? Try moving it closer  and farther away. How close  does the magnet have to be to  have an effect on your compass?
Try This!
Here are some ways to try out your compass:
  • Find a map showing the streets of your neighborhood. Go outside and turn your map so it matches the streets. What direction is north? Now look at your compass. Is that the direction your compass is pointing?
  • After the sun sets in the evening, use your compass to find the star called Polaris. This bright star is also called the North Star because it is always directly north in the night sky. If you need help, look for the Big Dipper. The two stars at the end of the dipper point to the North Star. In the picture below, the Big Dipper is circled in blue and the North Star is circled in red.