Compass Lab

For a printer friendly version, click here

Background: For this lab exercise, we will be making two (2) different types of compasses: a floating compass and a hanging compass.  Both compasses were used in long-ago ship faring days.  As this lab serves as an introduction to our study of map reading, the compass and topographic maps, there is no lab report write-up.

Materials/Equipment:

bullet

two (2) nails

bullet

magnet

bullet

12 inch wooden rod

bullet

two (2) feet of thread

bullet

two (2) small corks

bullet

bowl

bullet

water

Procedure Part A

1. Using a magnet, stroke the nail from the center to one end

2. Reverse both nail and magnet and stroke from center to the opposite end

3. Place nail in loop of thread and suspend from wooden rod

Procedure Part B

1. Magnetize nail as described above

2. Run nail through two (2) pieces of cork

3. Place in bowl of water

Special Consideration: when using compasses, be sure it is not near metallic objects.  Metallic objects will attract the magnet and it will not point to magnetic North.

Lab Notes  >