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KS3 Challenge Day Magnetism

Last Friday, eleven Year 7 and 8 students had the amazing opportunity to visit Oxford University’s Department for Education, for a challenge day on “Magnetism”. There were quite a few other schools there, and we spent the day taking part in three activities, all sticking to the theme.

First, we had to look at magnetic fields. We used little compasses to help us with it, and drew a diagram of the magnetic fields around a magnet. Then we made a speaker out of sellotape, card, a box, copper wire and a magnet. When we put our ear to it, it made a kind of loud thudding sound when it was connected to a power pack.

The second activity was called “The Circus”, and we had eight minutes on each table, where we had to find out as much as we could on magnetic fields from Physics PhD students at Oxford University. This was really interesting, and we learnt a lot!

Then we had lunch, followed by the best part of the day: making magnets levitate! We had a talk from a PhD student, and then learnt about superconductors. Superconductors can only be a magnet at their critical temperatures, most are in the minus hundreds, so we cooled ours down to -269 degrees with liquid nitrogen, which allowed it to become magnetic and let our magnets levitate.

Unfortunately, we didn’t win the competition against the other schools, but all in all we had a great day!


Tim Millard (EAHY) and David Willis (EPGN)


Posted: 2017-02-03 10:00:39
Last Edited: 2017-02-24 16:03:58