Grades 3 – 8


A magnet can be made with iron and electricity.

Objective: Students will:

• Make an electromagnet.

State Standards:


Understand energy, its transformations, and interactions with matter.

Trace the flow of energy transformations in a system.


1-2 40 minute periods


“D” cell battery, 3-inch iron bolt, #24 Bell wire, Paper clips


Make an electromagnet by wrapping three meters of #24 Bell wire around a 3-inch bolt. Strip 1 inch of plastic from both ends of the wire then tape the wires to the “D” cell.

Test the strength of the electromagnet by picking up paper clips with it. How many will it pick up?

Place a small compass near the electromagnet. How does the compass act?

Teacher Information

Electricity can be used to make a magnet. A wire carrying electricity has a magnetic field around it. In fact, if the wire is coiled around a soft piece of iron, the magnetic field becomes much stronger. This soft piece of iron and the coiled wire is called an electromagnet. Electromagnets can be used to lift and move scrap metal, operate a doorbell, release the locking device on doors, etc.