Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Learning about Magnets
We dived right into our new theme this month - the children couldn't wait to start learning and experimenting with magnets!
We began by talking about what we already knew about magnets, and possibilities for projects or research (Otherwise known as the K and the W in a KWL chart). The students had good background knowledge, as it turns out, and told me:
1) Magnets are used in compasses (which point to magnetic north).
2) They can only stick to iron and steel.
3) They attract and repel each other.
4) They have north poles and south pole.
5) North attracts south and south attracts north. Like sides repel each other.
6) The earth is a giant magnet.
Here are some of their ideas about what they want to learn:
1) How can we make a magnet? A compass?
2) If iron or steel are mixed with another metal, can it still be magnetized?
3) How do magnets actually work?
4) What things in our home and school are magnets?
Today, we did hands-on exploration with a variety of magnets. We built magnet structures, played magnet/fishing games, learned first hand about attraction and repulsion, and used magnetic filings to discover different magnetic fields. We also used ring magnets and pencils to demonstrate how Maglev trains work (which we learned about yesterday by watching a How Things Work DVD).