Electromagnets and Permanent Magnets

In this simulation, the student uses a compass to determine the direction of the magnetic field produced by a permanent magnet or an electromagnet. The student can also measure field strength with a magnetic field probe. Electromagnets attached to DC and AC electrical power are provided for comparison purposes. Lesson plans are also available for the teacher on this site. The student uses a compass to explore the magnetic field around permanent and electromagnets in order to see how these fields compare to each other. The simulation of the electromagnet helps the student see that moving charge in a circuit produces a magnetic field, and that the field can be made stronger by putting more loops in a coil. By using an AC power source, the student can see that the direction of the magnetic field is linked to the direction of the electrical current.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3231.5.6
Understand magnetic poles, magnetic fields, and investigate electromagnetic induction.
CLE 3231.5.7
Understand that moving charges give rise to magnetism.
GLE 0801.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Learning Goals:

  • Predict the direction of the magnet field for different locations around a bar magnet and electromagnet
  • Compare and contrast bar magnets and electromagnets
  • Identify the characteristics of electromagnets that are variable and what effects each variable has on the magnetic field's strength and direction
  • Relate magnetic field strength to distance quantitatively and qualitatively

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints

What you need:

  • Magnetic Field
  • Magnets
  • Electromagnets