Family Magazine

Marvelous Magnets

By Jerry At Ays

This is a two-part project.  First, you need to gather what you need for the second part!

Marvelous Magnets
You’ll  need a strong magnet.  If you don’t have one, a trip to the hardware store should provide what you want.

Check your hardware store first but Lowes has a very good set of two strong magnets for a bit over a buck a piece.

Put your magnet in a plastic sandwich bag, go outside, and rub your magnet gently in the sand.

Now, take a look at it.  It has little black fuzz all over it!  That’s magnetite – A black mineral composed of iron oxide which is attracted to magnets.

Magnetic dust
Hold the magnet over a paper cup and carefully pull the magnet away from the inside of the bag.  The black particles will drop into the cup and you can go get some more.

Fill your cup as much as you want but at least get a teaspoonfull or two for this next part.

Carefully take your magnet out of the bag.  If some black dust got stuck to it, push it all to one corner and pinch it off into the cup.  You can use tape to pull off any last bit of it.

Now, place your magnet under a sheet of white paper and gently sprinkle the magnitite on top of the paper.  The dust will align along the invisible fields of magnetic force!

Move your magnet slowly under the paper to make the dust look like it’s alive!

Try this to see how much iron dust you can get from your sand!

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