Study Guide - Magnets

Magnets attract objects made of certain materials like iron and steel, nickel and cobalt. Magnets do not attract non-metal objects.

Example: A magnet will attract an iron nail or paperclip, but won't attract cereal or a book. Magnets don't attract all metals. A copper penny, for instance, will not be attracted to a magnet.

Certain metals can be turned into magnets. Magnetite (sometimes called lodestone) is a mineral that is naturally magnetic.

All magnets have a north and a south pole. Unlike poles attract each other- the south pole of the magnet attracts the north pole.

Like poles repel each other. The south pole of a magnet will repel the south pole of another magnet. The north pole of a magnet will repel the north pole of another magnet.

Magnets come in various shapes -- square, spherical, horseshoe, and even donut-shaped.

The bar magnet is very common.

An interesting characteristic of magnets is that when cut into pieces, each piece becomes a complete magnet with both north and a south pole.

A compass lines up with the Earth’s magnetic field and points toward the north pole .

Knowing that the red arrow points north,we can use the compass to tell direction.