December 8, 2017

This Friday we played with magnets and explored the invisible force of a magnetic field. Students tested various materials’ response to magnets, sorting out those that can be picked up with a strong magnet and those that cannot. With magnets, students realized, they can control the movement of iron fillings in a covered clear box, forming interesting patterns and shapes. Students solved a problem of a sunken paper clip in a cup of water by picking it up with a magnet. Children tested the effect of magnets of opposite polarization, observing the attraction or repulsion of round magnets strung on a drinking straw. We also observed the way a compass needle moves when there is a magnet nearby.

(For this short session we did not explore electromagnetism.)

After the hands-on experiments, it was time to play with magnetic toys and games: Magna-Tiles, magnetic darts, Magnaformers, magnetic letters, magnetic train sets, etc.

Watch: Magnetic Force on Khan Academy

Read: Grades K-2: Experiments with Magnets by Isabel Thomas and Discover Magnets by Julia Vogel. Grades 3-5: The Attractive Story of Magnetism with Max Axiom by Andrea Gianopoulos


Photo credit: Anya Bosina

Science Fridays: Magnets