Circles of Magnetism IV

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In this activity related to magnetism and electricity, learners observe as two parallel, current-carrying wires exert forces on each other. Learners will discover that these forces push the wires apart (if both currents flow in opposite directions) or pull them together (if both currents flow in the same direction). [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per student)

  • One 6-volt lantern battery or an equivalent current supply
  • 2 electrical lead wires with alligator clips at both ends (available at Radio Shack)
  • Tinkertoys™ or wood for a stand
  • Masking tape or transparent tape
  • Light aluminum foil
  • Adult help


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Electric Charges and Currents
      • Electromagnetic Fields
    • Motion and Forces
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • California Department of Education
  • NEC Foundation of America