Today you will use magnetic fields to create a work of art.

WHAT YOU NEED: 2 latch magnets, 32 steel nuts, a magnet keeper (which is a flat metal disk), and a large washer to use as a pedestal. A ruler and a couple of bar magnets could come in handy as well.

WHAT TO DO: Place the magnets on the far right and left sides of the washer, with opposite faces up. (You can test this with a bar magnet. One face should attract the N pole, the other should repel it.) Set the keeper on top of the magnets. Add the steel nuts and see what shapes you can form them into.

Magnetic fields go from pole to pole in big curves. If you follow these curves with the steel nuts, you can form arches. Try it!

First, try making an arch between A and B, linking the magnets. How big an arch can you make?


Then try making an arch between C and D.

 Describe what happened.

When you didn't follow the magnetic field lines, the connections between the nuts got weak and they fell apart. What do you think would happen if you flipped one of the magnets over?


You can add nuts onto your sculpture one at a time for amazing distances, as long as you do it along the magnetic field lines. You can add them as building blocks, or as stair steps. If you want to get really fancy, you can even add your bar magnets.

Use these techniques and your imagination to make your own magnetic work of art.


Be Creative! Be Artistic! Have Fun!

When you build a magnetic sculpture you're doing more than being creative. The sculpture helps you see magnetic field lines as they reach out in all directions, from one pole to another.

©1997 by Stratton House

All the equipment for this lesson is included in The Magnetism Adventure.

A dash of color has been added to this page. The actual lessons are in easily reproducible black, white and gray tones.

The above lesson is from the student worksheets. Additional notes and questions are given in the parent guide.

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