This fun experiment will allow you to explore magnets in a safe, hands-on setting!

Magnets are special pieces of metal that attract and repel other metals, specifically those with iron in them. All magnets have two poles, North and South. Opposite poles attract to each other and like poles repel each other. Explore this phenomenon with your magnets!

Want to duplicate this experiment at home or in your classroom? Watch the video for an overview, gather the materials listed at the right, and follow the instructions below!

Required Materials

  • box
  • 2 small magnets
  • metal paper clip (uncoated)
  • fishing line
  • tape
  • coloring supplies

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step 1

Prepare your box. If you’re using a gift box like the ones in the video, reinforce the corners with tape so they are sturdy.

Step 2

Color/decorate the inside of the box.

Step 3

Draw and cut out a small (slightly larger than the paperclip) “flying” object.

Step 4

Tie a piece of fishing line to one end of the paper clip.

Step 5

Tape the paper clip to the back of your small “flying” object.

Step 6

Attach one magnet to the top of the box and another to the inside of the box. You’re creating a sandwich with the magnets and the box.

Step 7

Tape the end of the fishing line (opposite side of the paper clip) to the bottom of the box. You’ll want the length of the line between the end that you tape and the one with the “flying” object to be less than the full length of the box. I.e., the flying object should not touch the magnet “sandwich,” but it should be relatively close.

Step 8

Pull the fishing line so that the paper clip is attracted to the magnet (within its magnetic field) but not touching the magnet.