Online College Courses for Credit

Bill Nye Demonstration:   Electromagnetism

Bill Nye Demonstration: Electromagnetism

Author: Bill Nye

Learn how to make your own magnet with some simple household items. 

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

26 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

308 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.



Simple household items and you can make your own magnet. Watch and learn my friends!

How Does it Work?

Most magnets, like the ones on many refrigerators, cannot be turned off, they are called permanent magnets. Magnets like the one made here can be turned on and off, are called ELECTROMAGNETS.

They run on electricity and are only magnetic when the electricity is flowing. The electricity flowing through the wire arranges the molecules in the nail so that they are attracted to certain metals.

In 1831, Michael Faraday carried out numerous experiments in his attempt to prove that electricity could be generated from magnetism. Within the course of a few weeks, the great experimentalist not only had clearly demonstrated this phenomenon, now known as electromagnetic induction, but also had developed a good conception of the processes involved. 

Try This!

Have students build their own electromagnet and answer these questions as they work.


Learn More!

Check out more explanations and extensions!

  • Building an Electromagnet - full background and directions on an engineering activity aligned to national standards
  • Magnet Lab U - this is one-stop shopping for nearly anything you might want to know about electricity and magnetism
  • Build an Electromagnet - a classroom activity including enrichment and assessment items for all students aligned with the NGSS

What Else is There?

If you're interested in watching more of my demonstrations, checkout my playlist,

Its Your Turn

Have cool science demonstrations you show your classes regularly? Save time and materials by making a quick video tutorial of your own for students. By using demonstrations and lab investigations regularly, students not only will know science, they can apply it!

Check out some resources on doing it yourself: