Monday, March 7, 2016

Tinkering with Magnets

They also experimented with pendulums and "magic wands."

Our four-session magnetism series began by just letting students play with magnets. Ideas for this program came from Tinkering: Kids Learn by Making Stuff.  First we just explored how magnets worked.

I had thought we would experiment with magnetic slime during this session. I made it at home first (always a good plan) and it was a messy disaster. I decided that we did not have the facilities at the museum for this project.

To prepare for this session I cut small blocks of wood at home and pre-drilled holes for straws and dowels. Other materials for this session included duct tape, tongue depressors, string, and scissors. My tub of arts and crafts supplies was also available.

The kids stacked ceramic donut
magnets to make them "float."
After some directed experiments, the tinkering began as they built various contraptions. This photo below captures the spirit of tinkering. Lots of duct tape and trial and error to create something incredible of his own design.

My goals for this first session on magnetism were to have the kids explore how magnets work and to loosen up and begin to tinker without direction. I was pleased with the mess by the end of the afternoon!

We began our second session by making our own compasses. I used these instructions.

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