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Elementary Library: Electricity and Magnetism

Shannon Coyne

Electricity and Magnetism



  • Magnets are objects that produce an area of magnetic force called a magnetic field.
  • Magnetic fields by themselves are invisible to the human eye.
  • Iron filings can be used to show magnetic fields created by magnets (such as in the picture to the right).
  • Magnets only attract certain types of metals, other materials such as glass, plastic and wood aren't attracted.
  • Metals such as iron, nickel and cobalt are attracted to magnets.

  • Most metals however are not attracted to magnets, these include copper, silver, gold, magnesium, platinum, aluminium and more. They may however magnetize a small amount while placed in a magnetic field.
  • Magnetism can attract magnetic objects or push them away.
  • Magnets have a magnetic north pole and a magnetic south pole. If the same pole of two magnets are placed near each other they will push away (repel), while if different poles are placed near each other they will pull together (attract).
  • Magnetic objects must be inside the magnetic field to respond, which is why you may have to move a magnet closer for it to have an effect.
  • The Earth's core is believed to be a mix (alloy) of iron and nickel, giving the Earth its own magnetic field.
  • The Earth's magnetic field is responsible for deflecting the solar wind, charged particles that come from the Sun.


Physics/Electricity & Magnetism

Hungry for fresh, exciting science activities based in amazing phenomena? Science snacks are hands-on, teacher-tested, and use cheap, available materials. Satisfy your curiosity without ever getting full.

Electricity and Magnetism

What is Electricity?

What is electricity?

Electricity is a secondary energy.

This means that it is made from other energies, such as coal, water or wind.

Static electricity is electricity that doesn’t move. A bolt of lightning is caused by static electricity.

Have you ever noticed sparks in your bed at night if you’re wearing fleece pajamas? As you move, static electricity builds up between the sheets and your pajamas.

Current electricity is electricity that flows. This is the type of electricity that you have in your house.



Benjamin Franklin showed us that lightning is a form of STATIC energy. 


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