Friday, April 6, 2012

Magnetism Workbox

I put together this cool magnetism workbox, packed full of experiments and interesting information about magnets!

As my kids get older, I'm hoping to give them more independent activities like this. I think it's important for them to take more responsibility for their own learning.

I'm also hoping to have lots of independent activities ready so the big kids can stay on track once we're homeschooling with a toddler. (Still a ways off, but it doesn't hurt to prepare!)

Unpacking the cool stuff in the box...

...and doing the first experiment. I included several experiments from Janice Van Cleave's books (I own this one and this one.)

The kids had already correctly predicted what the magnet would and wouldn't attract. But it was fun to try it anyway.

As they moved through the activities, they checked them off the list. I didn't find a single source for the experiments and worksheets: I cobbled together this list from Janice Van Cleave's books, Evan-Moor's Teacher Filebox, The Mailbox's Science in a Box, and a couple of websites.

I used a few magnets that we already had (including the kids' Buckyballs) and ordered a couple of kits from Amazon. We had a set of buzz magnets (I think I got them at the supermarket) and a couple of magnets from Dude's Magic Penny set that he got for Christmas a couple of years ago. (In retrospect, I would not include the Rare Earth magnets that I ordered because they are so unbelievably strong, they tended to be hard to work with! However, this Dowling magnet set proved to be a good choice for our experiments.)

This was one of our favorite experiments. It's from a Janice Van Cleave book.

Make sure you tape it securely!

It didn't work exactly the way it should have because we used a magnet from the Magic Penny set and it's capped with plastic on each end.

Still pretty cool, though! It's been "hanging out" on our mantle for several days now...

Here are the magnets from the Dowling set. We sprinkled the iron filings on a plastic report cover and observed the magnetic field.

Then the kids wanted to make a ring of Buckyballs and see how the iron filings would behave.

And here is what happens if some of the iron filings "escape" from the plastic and stick to a magnet! Good luck getting them off!

All in all, my kids were very "attracted" to this workbox! (Sorry! Couldn't help it!)

This post is linked to Look! What We Did!
You can check out more great ideas there!


Susan said...

This is such a great idea! We have lots of magnetism materials, I should make them into a workbox like this!!
If you're interested, this post would be perfect for the "Look! What We Did!" link up ( ... I'd love it if you'd stop over there and link it up!

Sparklee said...

Thanks, Susan! I just linked up!

Susan said...

Fantastic! Thanks for linking it! I'm going to pin it, too :)

Sara said...

Wow! The workbox is just amazing.

Theresa said...

This is such a cool idea! Thank you for linking up to "Look What We Did"!

We love the Janice Van Cleave books!

Karen said...

I love this. I was reading thinking, "I am going to tell her to link up with "Look What We Did" Ha :)

Keilee used to LOVE magnets. LOVE them. I love the idea of the 'workbox' filled with magnets and experiments. I have read about Janice Van Cleave books several times in the last couple of weeks. I need to check those out.

And buckyballs...aren't they amazing!!!???