Investigating Solenoids

The fifth lab activity is designed to facilitate the investigation of electromagnetism using solenoids. Students investigate how ferrous material (iron) and magnets interact with an electromagnet. Students draw conclusions based on what occurs when the orientation of the components and/or the battery is changed. Teachers should help students develop the fundamental understandings of electromagnetism so that they can apply this scientific knowledge to future engineering projects. As the five lab activities have built upon each other conceptually, this is an important final experience to promote student understanding.

Essential Question:

What are the relationships between solenoids and modern-day inventions?

Step 1

Remove a centimeter of the red insulation from each end of your solenoid. This ensures proper conductivity from the battery through the wire.


Take a piece of iron and place it inside the solenoid, leaving it hanging off the edge.


Connect both sides of the solenoid to the battery terminal.
What do you observe?

Animation 1

Step 2


Now take a permanent magnet from your previous experiments and place it halfway inside the solenoid tube.Connect both sides of solenoid to the battery.
What do you observe?
Can you explain what you observed?

Step 3


Now, flip the orientation of the solenoid wire connections to the battery.
What do you observe?
How does this compare to the previous step?

Animation 2