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This is an activity about magnetism. In this activity, polystyrene spheres and several strong neodymium magnets are used to represent the Sun and Earth and their distinct magnetic fields. Participants construct and use a field detector to predict where the magnetic fields are on the Sun and Earth, and use field bits, which is the term used in the lesson plan, made from the closed staples to form loops and trace the invisible magnetic fields of the Sun and Earth. The activity is designed to be used in an informal public outreach setting, for example as a stand-alone station in a family science day event. It can also be modified for use as a simple classroom demonstration. There are background information sheets provided that can be printed to go along with the activity station. This activity requires two polystyrene spheres, 8 neodymium magnets, epoxy adhesive, wire clippers, needle nose pliers, and acrylic paints, along with other easily obtained materials.
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