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Find out more about the science of Earth Magnets.

Magnets and Lodestones
Lodestones and Compasses
Magnets Today
The Earth's Magnet Field
Mars' Magnet Field
Experiments with Compasses
Magnets and Temperature

Science Experiments for KidsScience doesn't have to be complicated, expensive or use specialized laboratory equipment. There are great science projects that can be performed using common household items.

Whether you are a parent or a student trying to find an idea for a science project, a teacher looking for ideas for the classroom, or a science enthusiast who enjoys the delight of experimentation, you'll find what you're looking for in this book.

101 Easy Science Projects


Kids Science Library

Amazing Polymers  
Static Electricity  

Or check the Free Activity Library for kids crafts and children's activities.


Magnets, Magnetism and Lodestones

Lodestones are magnets that are found in nature. They are chunks of magnetite ( Fe3O4 ) that have been exposed to the strong magnetic field from a bolt of lightning that has struck the earth. As early as 800BC, both the Chinese and the Greeks have known about how pieces of iron will stick to lodestone. There are references by the Greek historian Pliny to a herdsman named Magnes, who found that his iron shod staff stuck to some of the stones where his herd grazed. Ancient Egyptians referred to lodestone as the bone of Haroeri, grandson of the goddess of the earth.


Lodestones and Compasses

One of the earliest known recorded use of a compass is from China. There are records in ancient texts dating from approximately 100AD of a “South Pointer”. This device was a loadstone spoon that was balanced on a plate. The cup part of the spoon would point south, giving the Emperor the direction he needed so that he could plow a ritualistic furrow to ensure the fertility of the earth.

There is also evidence of compasses being used in the laying out of some very old cities in the south of China. For example, in the city of Kansu, there are traces of two different alignments. In the older part of the city, the alignment runs almost North/South - in a newer section of the city the alignment runs 11 degrees to the east of North/South.  See some old pictures of this city.

Once the properties of magnets were explored more, compasses were developed. This allowed for much greater exploration of the planet. In 1492, Columbus used a compass to allow his ships to continue on their westward course on his quest to find India. Unfortunately Columbus found that the Americas were in the way.

Magnets Today

In today’s world magnets can be found everywhere. Wherever there is an electric motor such as in a fan, or an electric generator you will find magnets. Every wire that has electricity running through it will also have its own magnetic field around it. You can use this magnetic field to create an electro magnet of your own.

Maglev trains are one of the flashiest uses of magnets in today’s world. These trains have powerful magnets underneath them and these magnets lift the train up off of the track. With no contact to the earth, these trains can move incredibly fast and provide a very smooth ride for the passengers.  Find out more about Maglev trains.

More information on the science of magnets or try these experiments with magnets



Note to Parents:

Creative Kids at Home has checked every weblink on this page.  We believe these links provide interesting information that is appropriate for kids.  However, the internet is a constantly changing place.  You are responsible for supervising your own children.  If you ever find a link that you feel is inappropriate, please let us know. 


Exploring Magnet Kits   (Special Deal)

Exploring Magnet Kits (Special Deal)

Includes Magnet Wand, block magnet, two disc magnets, two "doggie" magnets, one metal-encased magnet, magnet viewing film, flexible magnet, wood dowel, shoelace and activity booklet. Ages 6 & up.


42 Piece Magnetic Geomag Glow In The Dark Set

Janice VanCleave's Magnets: Mind-boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects.



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