How to Make a Magnet Attract Change

Written by melissa king
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How to Make a Magnet Attract Change
Coins that contain steel or iron can be picked up with a magnet. (coins image by Maria Brzostowska from

Attracting coins to a magnet can be an entertaining trick, especially for children learning about the properties of magnetism. Most household magnets, such as those found on your refrigerator, are too weak to pick up change. To collect coins, you will need a rare-earth magnet. Rare-earth magnets are very powerful and are often used in roller coasters and maglev trains. If you have a few magnetic coins, collecting them with a rare-earth magnet takes only a second.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rare-earth magnet
  • Magnetic coins

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  1. 1

    Obtain a rare-earth magnet, such as a neodymium magnet. These magnets may be found in magic shops or teaching resource stores.

  2. 2

    Collect magnetic coins that will react to the rare-earth magnet. For a coin to be magnetic, it must contain some iron. While current United States currency is not magnetic, coins from Canada, New Zealand and Israel, among others, possess magnetic properties.

  3. 3

    Hold the rare-earth magnet above the coins. If the coins are magnetic, they are attracted to the magnet. Due to its strength, the rare-earth magnet can pick up a chain of coins, with each coin attached to the other in a chain formation.

Tips and warnings

  • Exercise caution when handling rare-earth magnets. If two magnets are held close together, they can attract one another forcefully, causing injury to the person holding them.
  • Rare-earth magnets should be kept out of reach of small children

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