Making a compass
Did you know that you can use a needle or a bit of wire to make a compass? Year 8 did this in the Christmas term – it’s a fun experiment to try at home, too. And it could even be useful in an emergency!
Step 1: magnetize your needle or bit of wire If you’ve got a magnet handy, just touch the south pole of the magnet to the point of your needle. Then touch the north pole of the magnet to the other end of the needle. You can also do this with a bit of wire.
Chances are, you wouldn’t have a magnet if you were lost in the wilds of the Brecon Beacons or Dartmoor, or even the back lanes of Norfolk – so instead, you can use a little bit of silk or wool from your clothing to magnetize the needle. Rub the needle back and forth from eye to point about 100 times; the needle will now be magnetized.
Step 2: turn the needle into a compass Grab a leaf, or something light that will float, and place the needle on top of it. Float it in a puddle of water, and you have yourself a makeshift compass. It will point North as all Year 8’s leaves show in the second picture!