Friday, August 27, 2010

Show Me the Money! (Experiment)

A really great experiment to do with kids involves exactly two supplies.

A dollar bill (any denomination will work) and a non-flexible magnet.

In my house we have been playing with a big magnet, trying to see what it will stick to and what it will not stick to. I had seen this experiment as a kid and I realize my son does not get the significance of it, but he still had fun.

Fold the dollar bill in half, with one  half on the table and the other half sticking up in the air. Use your magnet and see if the dollar bill is magnetic or not. The dollar is slightly magnetic but it is stronger in some areas more than others. My son thought it was funny that it "danced" around when the magnet got near it.

The reason the dollar is magnetic is a special printing process used by the US Treasury Department. The magnetic ink is very light and many people think it is to prevent people from making counterfeit bills but not many people check to see if a bill is magnetic. The real reason that the bills are magnetic is to assist with the automated currency counters. The magnetic feature keeps the bills lined up in the counting machines.

Kids should be impressed that the dollar bills are magnetic and then you can run by the bank and let them see how a currency counter works.

1 comment:

  1. Great idea. My son would love this. Thanks for sharing!