Materials List: Magnetic Fields and Distance

Each group needs:

  • lab notebook, one per student
  • magnetic and non-magnetic materials, at least 2 of each per group; magnetic materials might include steel rods and metal nails; non-magnetic materials might include glass and plastic; (optional) include some fun magnetic materials, such as Crazy Aaron’s Strange Attractor Super Magnetic Thinking Putty with Magnet, one 3.2-oz tin for 2 or 3 groups, for $15 at or
  • a 3- or 4-inch compass with scales every 2 or 3 degrees; while a phone with a compass can be used, calibration may be a problem and a strong magnet may damage the phone
  • a non-magnetic meter stick or paper scale ~30 cm in length
  • graph paper
  • a neodymium magnet; need not be very strong or large; ~2.2 cm/1-inch is adequate; a cube or cylindrical magnet is easier to work with than a disk-shaped magnet; available at or elsewhere, such as
  • (optional) clay, to hold the magnet in the desired orientation
  • (optional) a way to create a semi-log plot, such as a calculator or a computer or tablet with Microsoft® Excel® or similar spreadsheet application
  • a periodic table that shows electron configuration; such as the following good online resource at
  • Student Lab Notebook Rubric, one per student
  • Proportional Magnetic Field Equations Handout, one per student
  • Poster Grading Rubric, one per student

To share with the entire class:

  • computers with Internet access
  • large grid paper, such as a grid hand-drawn on butcher paper (using a ruler); on which to collect class data for all students to see
  • (optional) tape, to adhere data and graphs into lab notebooks