HELP!! Need and idea for a 4th grade project on electricity/magnetics?

My poor 4th grade daughter is stuck with a mom who is a chef, which means I know NOTHING about either electricity or magnetics,  We need an idea for a project that includes both.  Ostensibly, she would be dong this on her own.  Realistically, I will be helping her and that may be NO help whatsover.  The project can be anything at all.  I loved the idea for the simple machine that does nothing but turn itself off (by SASKVIEW), but after reading the instructions and subsequent comments, I've realized it's too much for my poor brain to handle.  Can anyone help with a simple suggestion?  Thank you in advance for help from all of you gifted people on this site!!

sort by: active | newest | oldest
Grathio7 years ago
Electromagnets and basic motors are the standard fare, but I'd go for the 3D magnetic field visualizer.   Even adults get mesmerized by this thing, it's dead simple to make and pretty safe.  And it's a great tool for learning visually about magnetic fields.
bogle821 (author)  Grathio7 years ago
I must say, all the answers and ideas have been fantastic, but I LOVE the elegant simplicity of this one.  It's such a clean, interesting idea!!  i'm marking this one as my "best answer!
bogle821 (author)  Grathio7 years ago
Very Cool!!  And even I could do this, but so could my daughter with NO help!  Genius!!
Jayefuu7 years ago
This is probably perfect. Build a simple motor, uses magnets and electricity. If you need more explanation of how a motor works for the project writeup, has a good, easy to understand explanation.
bogle821 (author)  Jayefuu7 years ago
OK!  This is so cool!  And my daughter could totally do this by herself!!  But do you mind explaining to me how and why this works?  I want to make sure she understands the physics behind the project, not just that the projcet gets done!  I wish my mind worked better for things like this, but I can make an amazing Osso Bucco!
The coil generates a magnetic field, which repels the field of a permanent magnet, flipping the coil over.

This would bring everything to rest, except the flip also switches the current around in the coil (google commutator).  This means the field reverses, so it again repels the magnet, and flips again.

And again.

And again...
Kiteman7 years ago
4th grade = 9 or 10 years old?

Simply make an electromagnet (coil lots of wire around an iron nail and put electricity through it).

For more credit, use the magnet for something, such as sorting out recyclable metals into magnetic and non-magnetic.

Or maybe a coin-sorter (roll coins past the end of the magnet, and they will be affected to different amounts depending on the coin (size, iron content etc) - they will change direction and land in different places at the end of the roll.
bogle821 (author)  Kiteman7 years ago
Love it!!  Great suggestion!! And the worksheet massivley helps!!
Kiteman Kiteman7 years ago
Have a look at this worksheet.
Use a very simple circuit - a piece of wire connected to a battery, to make a compass needle move....
bogle821 (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
thanks for a great suggestion!
build a levitation device (search it on instructables) or get a few rare earth magnets drill a hole through the center put a piece of dowel through and put them with the magnet Bearings opposite so south south north south so they push themselves apart and they'll levitate
bogle821 (author)  stephenniall7 years ago
Thank you for the great suggestion!  What is a rare earth magnet?