Exploring Magnets

 

Over the last two weeks, we’ve explored basic electricity — static electricity, current electricity, switches, and a bit of history. Today we’re moving on to magnets.

 

10 Days of Electricity and Magnetism

 

Magnets are really cool to kids — big and small. You really don’t need to do too much with them besides dump magnets of various sizes onto the table and let the kiddos have at ’em.

And I do that often, beginning as early as age 2. Now, obviously you need to use caution and know your kids, and I’d never recommend letting toddlers have small magnets unless you’re supervising, but there is a huge value in introducing real opportunities for exploration at very young ages.

So, let’s do that today. No matter how old your kids are, collect some magnets, and dump them out. I recommend having a variety of types and strengths so they can really make some discoveries.

 

Exploring Magnets via Raising Lifelong Learners

 

Set out bar magnets, horseshoe magnets, wands, refrigerator magnets, and disks. If you can order them {they’re inexpensive, and really cool}, get some iron filings so your kids can see a visual representation of the magnetic field. These are available as loose filings and enclosed in plastic cases. Choose the ones that best fit your situation depending on the age of your kids.

 

Exploring Magnets via Raising Lifelong Learners

 

Need some ideas about good magnets and kits for kids? Check out the carousel below for some of the things I’ve used or have now. {Affiliate Links}
 

 
Amazon.com Widgets

 

Along with the various magnets you’ve collected, set out different things to investigate for magnetic attraction. Try to have a large variety, including some surprises. Flatware, and aluminum foil seem to many kids like they should be attracted to magnets, but they’re not. Collect buttons, ribbons, coins, small metal objects and toys. Put them in a pile and let your kids explore.

 
Exploring Magnets via Raising Lifelong Learners

 

While they’re doing this, observe and ask questions. See if they sort the objects spontaneously, then ask them why they did that. Watch them discover that like forces repel and opposite forces attract. They will.

 

Through this kind of free exploration and discovery, the greatest understandings emerge.

 

You can do a few things once they’ve played.

Formalize the learning if you want. Ask your kids first to either dictate what they discovered or write it on the notebooking page below. Then, talk with them about their discoveries. Explain what they were observing.

 
Magnet Notebooking Page

 
Whatever you choose to do following their explorations, just remember to keep it fun. Let them learn to enjoy learning – it’s a great way to grow lifelong learners.

Have you been finding this unit attractive? Okay…that was corny, but it works. Stick around for the next couple of days to finish off the series with me. We’ll explore electromagnets tomorrow – my favorite.

 
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While you wait for tomorrow’s post, check out some of the other great iHomeschool Network bloggers and their posts like Heather as she shares Adventure Box Theme Ideas or  Michelle’s great ideas for Screen Free Fun.
 

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Horseshoe magnet photo credit: explainthatstuff via photopin cc

 

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