Red Flags
Keep magnets away from credit cards, TV’s, and computers.

Questions to Ask
What objects do you think will be attracted to the magnet? Which ones will not? How can we keep track of the ones that are attracted and the ones that aren’t?

Science Connection

In the space around a magnet there is an invisible magnetic force field. When another magnetic object is moved into the magnetic field, the object will be pulled or attracted to the magnet.

A magnet’s magnetic field is strongest in two places, called poles. The pole that points toward Earth’s magnetic north is called the north pole, and the opposite end is the south pole. Opposite poles attract each other; like poles repel or push away from each other.

Magnetite is a naturally found mineral that contains iron and is attracted to magnets. Some magnetite, called lodestone, will point toward the Earth’s magnetic poles when suspended freely -- a primitive compass.

To explore the properties of magnets

What You Need I

  • Magnets
  • Various household objects
  • Clear container
  • Water

    What to Do I
    Ask children to fill a clear container with water. What waterproof household items would they like to place in the water? How could they get these items to “swim” in the water? After they try to make them move by blowing or pushing with their hands, ask them to try a magnet or bingo wand outside the container. What do they think will happen? If an object is attracted by a magnet when it is out of the water, can the magnet still attract it when it is in water?

    What You Need II

  • Shoebox lid
  • Paper
  • Paint
  • Magnets
  • Various household objects

    What to Do II
    Ask the children how they could fit a piece of paper in a shoebox lid. Brainstorm ideas as to how this can be accomplished. When a decision is made, place the paper in the lid. Put household items in the lid and then pour a small amount of paint on the paper. What happens when you move a magnet under the lid? If an object is attracted by a magnet when it is not in the lid, can the magnet still sttract it when it is in the lid?

    Attract: To be pulled together. When a magnet “sticks” to an object it is attracted to that object.

    Iron: Is the most common and important metal element on Earth. It is in all living things. Iron is the major component of everything made of steel.

    Magnetism: Magnetism is an unseen force that causes certain materials to be attracted to each other or pushed apart.

    Magnet: A piece of metal or iron having the majority of its molecules aligned in the same direction, causing an attractive force, or a magnetic field, to occur. Magnets mainly attract objects with iron in them.

    Try This
    Place a few drops of food coloring in clear water. Put various waterproof objects in the water and then see what happens to the food coloring when a magnet is moved outside the container. How has the water changed? Why?

    Try burying some items in sand. Can the magnet find them?
    Can the children demonstrate the actions of an item being attracted to a magnet—and one being repelled?

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