Electricity and magnetism are inseparable friends. They are similar is
some ways and dissimilar in others. In the next four labs students will
do experiments that show how they are related.
Prior to the 19th century magnetism and
electricity were still regarded as two separate phenomena. Even 20
years after the invention of the battery most scientist still regarded
them separate. Hans Christian Oersted in 1820 first demonstrated how
they were connected. He was doing an experiment in front of his class
showing that electricity could be converted into heat. Oersted placed a
compass close to the electric circuit lying on the desk used for
demonstration. He happened to place the compass parallel to the wire
lying there. As he switched the circuit on, he saw something strange.
To his surprise the compass swung violently back and forth as he opened
and closed the circuit.
The oscillation of the needle puzzled
him. Fascinated with the needle's movement he experimented with
stronger batteries that provided him with more current. From these
experiments Oersted showed that electricity and magnetism were similar.
In the following labs, students will look
at electricity first to make sure they remember a series and parallel
circuit. Then repeat Oersted's experiment. The third lab will look at
magnetism, north and south, attract and repel; and the fourth lab will
look at electric motors.
Students should follow their lab sheets to guide them in their
laboratory procedures. Please note that all the labs build on one