Creating a Compass from a Magnet

In this lesson, students create a compass and apply their reasoning about magnetism to how compasses work to help us navigate around the globe while utilizing the Earth’s magnetic field. 

Context for Use

Project EXTREMES lessons were intended to be stand alone lessons.


Credit: 2009 HowStuffWorks


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Activity 1 – Engage (15 minutes) How does a compass work?

Engage students in discussion about how compass works.

Activity 2 – Explore (30 minutes) Create a compass

Students each create a compass.

Activity 3 – Explain (15 minutes) Class discussion

Students analyze the results of their exploration, and create a model and explanation for how a compass works.

Activity 4 - Elaborate (30 minutes) Navigating Animals

Students research and make a poster about how organisms use magnetoreception to navigate.

Activity 5 - Evaluate (15minutes) Putting it all together

As an assessment students write about and draw models of what they learned in this lesson.


Illustration of two people high-fiving in a work environment

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