Easily Lost? You Can Make Your Own Compass
Here’s a great little outdoor challenge: assemble a compass with these instructions from noaa.gov. It’s a fun way to show kids how people navigated the “old-school” way, before GPS and apps.
What you’ll need:
- Sewing needle (1-2 inches long)
- Small magnet
- Small piece of cork (from a wine bottle is great)
- Small cup of water (to float the cork in)
- Pair of pliers
- Small knife
- Safety gloves (when handling the pliers/knife)
- Small cup or bowl
1. Hold the needle with the point facing away from you. Rub your magnet over the needle about 30-40 times, always in the same direction. According to ScientificAmerican.com, this action magnetizes the needle.
2. With a small knife, cut off a circle from one end of the cork, about one-quarter of an inch thick.
3. Using pliers for safety, carefully poke the needle into one edge of the circle and force the needle through the cork so that the end comes out the other side. Push the needle far enough through the cork so that about the same amount of needle is sticking out on each side. Be careful not to stick yourself.
4. Fill the cup or bowl about halfway with water, and put the cork and needle assembly on the surface of the water. You now have a compass!
5. Place the compass on a flat surface and watch what happens. The needle should point toward magnetic north, according to ScientificAmerican.com.
This easy, DIY project is a great way to show your kids that science can sometimes point you in the direction of fun!