Community Outreach

Magnets and Electricity: A World of Attraction

Two WISeNet Fellows, Tiffany Wilson and Weston Ross spent a day at Northside Elementary School teaching 4th graders about the basics of electronmagnets. They began with a brief overview of what magnets are, why they are attractive or repel  depending on their orientation, and how electricity can create magnetic fields.

Using compasses as detectors, students saw how magnetic fields can be created using batteries and cooper wire in a hands-on-activity designed by the WISeNet Fellows. In the second activity, the students explored how changes in voltage and the number of coils of wire affect the strength of the magnetic field by counting the number of paperclips that can be supported by the electromagnet. The experiment concluded with a demonstration by undergradue Duke engineering students Ivonna Dumanyab, Brendon Colbert, and Cody Baker of a magnetic levitation device that applies the concepts learned in the hands-on-activites.