Needle & Cork Compass
activity exercisedemonstrationsuggested grade levels: 5-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

Follow the directions below to make a compass that really works!

¼" slice of cork saucer detergent magnet needle

Add a small amount of detergent to a dish of water. This will permit an object to float freely in the center of the saucer. Magnetize the needle by stroking it with the magnet. Stroke from the middle of the needle toward one end with one pole of the magnet and from the middle toward the other end with the other pole. Stroke from the middle to the end only. Run the needle through the slice of cork. Float the cork in the dish of water. It will turn so that the needle points north and south. The apparatus is now a compass.

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics

Lesson Plan provided by Dr. Helen Challand and Elizabeth Brandt with permission from Science Activities from A to Z, illustrations by Herb Rudd, 2000
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: