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ERIC Number: EJ913080
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jan
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Exploring Magnetic Fields with a Compass
Lunk, Brandon; Beichner, Robert
Physics Teacher, v49 n1 p45-48 Jan 2011
A compass is an excellent classroom tool for the exploration of magnetic fields. Any student can tell you that a compass is used to determine which direction is north, but when paired with some basic trigonometry, the compass can be used to actually measure the strength of the magnetic field due to a nearby magnet or current-carrying wire. In this paper, we present a series of simple activities adapted from the "Matter & Interactions" textbook for doing just this. Interestingly, these simple measurements are comparable to predictions made by the Bohr model of the atom. Although antiquated, Bohr's atom can lead the way to a deeper analysis of the atomic properties of magnets. Although originally developed for an introductory calculus-based course, these activities can easily be adapted for use in an algebra-based class or even at the high school level.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A