5.0 based on 3 ratings

Updated on Feb 08, 2012

Grade Level: 6th - 12th; Type: Mechanical Engineering


Build a magnetometer.

The goals of this project are:

  1. To build a magnetometer.
  2. To demonstrate its uses

Research Questions:

  • How is a magnetometer designed?
  • How does a magnetometer work?

A magnetometer measures the strength and direction of magnetic fields. Its uses include detecting things submerged underground like archeological sites, shipwrecks and buried metal objects. It is also used for directional drilling by land surveyors. This project invites you to build your own magnetometer.


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • One clean 2 liter soda bottle
  • Two pounds of sand
  • One small bar magnet
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.).
  • Adjustable high intensity lamp with a clear (not frosted) bulb.

Experimental Procedure

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below).
  2. Address all of the terms and research questions mentioned here.
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.
  5. Following the instructions provided in link #2 below, build a magnetometer.
  6. Test your creation.
  7. Carefully record all results.
  8. Analyze your data.
  9. Write a detailed report.
  10. Include photos, diagrams, models and demonstrations in your science fair display.

Terms/Concepts: Quantum magnetometer; Scalar magnetometer; Vector Magnetometer


Judee Shipman is a Bay Area Educational Consultant and professional writer of quality educational materials. Her recent writing credits include (a popular and entertaining website about states), and a book called The Portable Chess Coach (Cardoza, 2006), currently available in stores.

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