This activity created by the Exploratorium Museum demonstrates the magnetic field induced by a current-carrying wire. A group of compasses are arranged around a wire. An electric current passing through the wire creates a magnetic field stronger than the earth's field (in the region close to the wire). The Exploratorium "Snacks" are miniature versions of popular exhibits at the museum that can be easily set up or performed in school or home settings. Materials needed, assembly, an explanation of the physics that occurs and a description of the right-hand rule are also provided.
6-8: 4G/M3. Electric currents and magnets can exert a force on each other.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)
4. THE PHYSICAL SETTING
4F (9-12) #3. Accelerating electric charges produce electromagnetic waves around them. A great variety of radiations are electromagnetic waves: radio waves, microwaves, radiant heat, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, x rays, and gamma rays. These wavelengths vary from radio waves, the longest, to gamma rays, the shortest. In empty space, all electromagnetic waves move at the same speed?the "speed of light."
G. Forces of Nature
4G (9-12) #5. Magnetic forces are very closely related to electric forces and can be thought of as different aspects of a single electromagnetic force. Moving electric charges produce magnetic forces and moving magnets produce electric forces. The interplay of electric and magnetic forces is the basis for electric motors, generators, and many other modern technologies, including the production of electromagnetic waves.
Exploratorium. Exploratorium: Snacks About Magnetism - Circles of Magnetism I. San Francisco: Exploratorium, September 14, 2007. http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/circles_magnetism_I/ (accessed 1 September 2015).
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