OP47 demonstrate that the Earth has a magnetic field, and locate north and south

In the 12th Century (1300’s) the sailors of China, used to hang a small bar of magnetic material freely, they had noticed that it always pointed the same direction. By setting their direction off the direction of the bar they were always able to navigate no matter what the weather. This was the worlds first compass.

William Gilbert discussed the Earth as being a Magnet in 1600 in his book De magnete, magneticisique corporibus

He also first coined the terms He also first used the terms electric force, magnetic pole, and electric attraction.

You can make your own compass too

Draw a rough sketch of the school or house you are in, Use a ruler to make sure all the sides are straight.


suspend the magnet from a retort stand using a piece of thread

allow the magnet to hang freely,

compare the direction of your magnet to others in the class

some retort stands are better suited to this job than others

can you think why? a Retort stand is made from iron !

Method 2

float a magnet on top of some styrofoam or in a big weighboat

give the magnetic boat a little time to settle

compare the direction of your magnet to others in the class

Draw a line on the map you sketched

If you want to know about magnetism and what causes it watch this very good video