Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Mapping a Magnetic Field

Figure from experiment 16 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT


The region around a magnet where magnetic forces can be detected is called a magnetic field. All magnets, no matter what their shape, have two poles labeled north and south. When two like poles are brought near each other (i.e. north and north or south and south), they repel each other. When two unlike poles are brought together, they are attracted. The forces of repulsion and attraction are present because of the magnetic field that completely surrounds the magnet. The magnetic field lines around a bar magnet form a similar pattern to the magnetic field lines around the Earth. They extend out from the North Pole, and then curve back into the South Pole. The field lines are more concentrated near the poles of the magnet so the magnetic field is said to be stronger near the poles. In this activity, you will use a Magnetic Field Sensor to map the magnetic field along a bar magnet. You will use a simple robot to do the actual data collection.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a Magnetic Field Sensor and NXT to map the magnetic field along a bar magnet.
  • Build a robotic device to collect data.
  • Make conclusions about the magnetic field at various points on a bar magnet.

Sensors and Equipment

This project/activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You will also need NXT Sensor Adapter and a LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robotics system.

STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT

See other experiments from the lab book.

2First-Class Levers
3Audio Assistant
6String Tension Tester
7Gas Pressure
8Yeast in Action
9Grip Strength
10Cartesian Diver
12Lemon Battery
13Battery Tester
14Solar Cells
15Solar Tracker
16Mapping a Magnetic Field
18Migrating Robot
19Magnet Finder
20Mine Sweeper

Project/activity 16 from STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT Lab Book

<em>STEM 2 with Vernier and LEGO<sup>®</sup> MINDSTORMS<sup>®</sup> NXT</em> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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