Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Permanent Magnet

Lab Summary

Use a magnetic field sensor to investigate the magnetic field strength of a permanent magnet as a function of distance from the magnet.


Although we cannot directly see the presence of magnetic fields, we can detect their existence. For example, we can use compasses positioned around the perimeter of a bar magnet. The needles in the compasses will align themselves with the magnetic field surrounding the magnet,
indicating the direction of the field lines. In this lesson, students investigate the strength of the magnetic field of a permanent magnet as a function of distance from the magnet.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Aligning a magnetic field sensor with the magnetic field from a permanent magnet.
  • Measuring and recording the magnetic field strength from a permanent magnet as a function of distance from the magnet.
  • Determining the relationship between the magnetic field strength and distance from a permanent magnet.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Magnetic Field Sensor


Provides magnetic field measurement in a very compact package. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Meter stick (non-metallic)

Neodymium magnet (1/2 or 3/4")

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle


A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.