# How to Determine the Positive & Negative Sides of a Magnet

••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
Print

The Earth’s poles create a magnetic field surrounding the planet. Magnets have their own poles that point toward the Earth’s poles. Using the Earth’s magnetic field, you can determine the positive and negative sides of a magnet. Determining the polarity of a magnet can teach you about the concept and demonstrate the Earth’s magnetic field.

Tie a piece of string tightly around the center of a bar magnet. Leave 12 inches of excess string, so you can dangle the magnet.

••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Determine the direction of the Earth’s North Pole using the compass.

Hold the string at arm's length straight out from your body allowing the magnet to dangle freely. Keep the magnet parallel to the floor.

When the magnet stops spinning, label the poles using the masking tape and pen. The end of the magnet pointing north is the negative side of the magnet. The end of the magnet pointing south is the positive side of the magnet.

• Bar magnet
• String
• Compass