Creating your own compass

Do-it-yourself compass

Our favorite nonfiction picture books include related, hands-on activities. I think these are a great way for children to learn and expand upon the information in the book itself. As I mentioned previously, I’m working on a navigation picture book. Along the way, I’ve collected some wayfinding activities I hope to include at the end of the book.

Of course I would never include an activity I hadn’t tested myself. Today’s task: make a compass.

Steve Spangler Science has a good version of this activity. He uses wax paper as the float. I sliced a thing piece of cork, about 1/4 inch. Also, I used a common household magnet, rather than one with a north/south designation. This meant I had to calibrate my compass with the known directions.

I wouldn’t recommend taking this sloshing compass with you on your next camping trip, but it’s fun to try at home. Let me know if you do and whether it works for you!

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3 Replies to “Creating your own compass”

  1. How very cool! When I read your blog, I find myself wishing a) that I had some kids around to do these things with and b) that someone had done sciencey things like this with me when I was a kid — I bet I would have enjoyed science more, and learned more as well! Thanks, Kirsten!

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