First you need to gather up all of the materials you will need. Below is a list of the following items needed to conduct this experiment:

• A battery power pack
• 1 small non-metallic bowl
• A needle
• Modeling clay
• Cork – ¼” slice off of a large cork
• A horseshoe magnet
• #22 insulated copper wire, 2 feet long w/ insulation stripped at both ends
• A switch
• Tape

Are you ready? Let’s get started. First you need to rub the needle repeatedly from the center to end with the magnet. Then tape the needle to the cork and place in a small bowl of water. Watch the direction of the needle when you place the magnet near it. Next, place the wire over the top of the dish and secure it with clay. Connect one end of the wire to the switch. Connect wire from the switch to the negative terminal on the battery pack. Connect the wire from the other end of the bowl to the positive terminal on the battery pack. Close the switch. Congratulations! You’ve just completed the same experiment that Oersted did back in 1819.

What is happening? Can you figure it out? When the electric current is flowing, there is a magnetic field around the circuit. Essentially, when the current is flowing, the magnetic needle is deflected at right angles to the circuit wire. Because of this experiment, electromagnetism was discovered.

9 Responses to Oersted’s Experiment

  1. Pingback: Build a Galvanometer | Battery Kids

  2. Robert Wilson says:

    thanks for the post

  3. zerodtkjoe says:

    Thanks for the info

  4. Gupiegup1233 says:

    This really helped with the homework i got from school! Thanksss!!!!!

  5. Snoopy969 says:

    This didnt help at all for my homework- it would be better showing how he did it and how he found it out.

  6. zztt12 says:


  7. ninnb148473 says:

    This is awsome! Thanks for your help!

  8. Kandy says:

    Terrific post however I was wondering if you could write a litte
    more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little
    bit further. Thank you!

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