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Home > Learning Center > Science Center > Make a Compass

How to Make a Magnetic Compass

Without a magnetic compass, navigators could never have charted the seven seas, much less a trip to the moon and back. In this project, you'll learn how to make a compass–the instrument that's helped us explore the unknown.

Materials You Will Need:

  • 3 needles
  • Small strip of paper
  • Modeling clay
  • Magnet
  • Transparent tape
  • For outdoors: glass jar, pencil, thread

Please Read Carefully!

All experiments use safe, low-voltage battery power. Household electrical current contains high voltage that could cause serious injury. DO NOT use household electrical current for any of these experiments. ALL experiments should be conducted under adult supervision.

  • Carefully follow wiring instructions for each experiment. Improper wiring can result in battery leakage and/or rupture.
  • DO NOT take a battery apart. Contact with internal battery material can cause injury.
  • DO NOT dispose in fire, recharge, put in backwards, or mix with used or other battery types. This may cause batteries to explode, leak and cause personal injury.