Learning objects Electromagnetism: magnetic fields

TLF ID L10715

Investigate the magnetic field surrounding an electromagnet. Use a compass to find the direction of the field at different places. See how field lines can be used to map the field’s strength and direction. Vary the current through an electromagnet and observe how this affects the field. For example, notice that there are more field lines when the current is large. This learning object is one of three learning objects in the same series.

Educational details

Key learning objectives
  • Students use a compass to map magnetic field lines.
  • Students construct magnetic field diagrams for an electromagnet.
  • Students describe the relationship between field strength and spacing of field lines.
  • Students describe the relationship between magnetic field strength and current in an electromagnet.
Educational value
  • Shows field diagrams for electromagnets of several different strengths.
  • Simulates the use of a compass to detect magnetic fields.
  • Allows the compass to be used with the field diagram switched on or off
  • Enables virtual variation of current through an electromagnet using a rheostat, while the changing field diagram is visible.
Year level

6; 7; 8

Learning area
  • science
  • Science/Physical sciences
  • Science/Science understanding
    Student activity
    • Interactives;
    • Experiment

    Other details

    • Script writer
    • Name: Penn Short
    • Organisation: Tyger Eye Design
    • Address: Port Macquarie NSW 2444 Australia
    • Subject matter expert
    • Name: Graham Coghill
    • Address: Marcus Beach QLD 4573 Australia
    • Educational validator
    • Technical implementer
    • Publisher
    • Date of contribution: 28 Jan 2014
    • Organisation: Education Services Australia
    • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
    • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au
    Access profile
    • Colour independence
    • Device independence
    • Hearing independence
    • Generic
    Learning resource type
    • Interactive Resource
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer - minimum version: 8.0 (MS-Windows) - maximum version: 9.0 (MS-Windows)
    • Firefox - minimum version: (MS-Windows)
    • Safari - minimum version: 5.1 (MacOS)
    Operating systems
    • MacOS - minimum version: 10.6
    • MS-Windows - minimum version: XP - maximum version: 7
    Platform requirements
    • This object may not display correctly on the Mac OS X platform in Safari unless viewed with Flash 9 Player 9.0.24 (for Safari). Use of earlier increments of the Flash 9 Player may result in playback issues on both PowerPC and Intel based hardware. Indications of an incompatible player are looping and/or flashing animations which are likely to relate to flawed interaction with the API or rendering engine.
    • © Education Services Australia Ltd, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements.