Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making A Compass

As a recent hands-on Astronomy project (we're learning about the Earth as we work our way through the Solar System), Seleia got to learn about the Earth's magnetosphere.  What better way to understand it than by making your very own compass? You just need a few handy supplies:

A needle
A pen
A rimmed lid (we used a sour cream lid)
1/4 inch sliced from the end of a cork
A magnet
Some water

And you're ready to go! First things first, you label your compass points (N, S, E, W) on the underside of your lid. Next, take your magnet and rub it a few times one direction only on your needle to magnetize it. Put your needle through the center of the cork so that it floats.  Fill your lid with water. Place your needle in the water, and the direction it points will be true North! Adjust your compass so that North is in the right spot, and feel free to spin your needle around as much as you wish!  It will always return to heading North.

The girls must have played with this thing for an hour before I took it away, with promises to learn how to make a more permanent version later. Meanwhile, Seleia got a great hands-on understanding on how this Earth's outer core creates the North Pole, and how that applies to her right where she's at. Finding out the Earth is a giant magnet?  Pretty cool.

1 comment:

Who am I... said...

AWESOME and she is just getting way to big (old) for word!