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Make a Homemade Compass

This is a great science activity. It can go with a study on the age of exploration, pioneer, orienteering, camping, earth science, astronomy, etc.


a magnet
a needle
a cork
a plastic bowl with lid
modeling clay
a toothpick


1. Put a piece of clay in the center of the bottom of your bowl and put the toothpick in the center so that it is standing up.

2. Cut away most of the lid so that only the rim remains.

3. Glue a ring of paper to the top side of the rim.

4. Dig a hole in the center of one end of the cork that is 1/5 inch deep.

5. Balance the cork on the end of the toothpick.

6. Fill the bowl with water until the cork floats.

7. The tooth pick stops the cork from floating to the side.

8. Make a needle into a magnet by stroking a real magnet toward the tip of the needle about 50 times.

9. Paint the tip of the needle and place it on the cork.

10. The needle should swing around and point north.

11. Put the rim in place.

12. Mark north on the paper.


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