Magnets are an incredible every day tool that can showcase the wonders of the world when presented in a way kids can easily understand. Here we’ll take a closer look at how magnets are useful and some examples of magnetic experiments especially for elementary school students.
Benefits of Understanding Magnets
As well as being found in some natural occurring minerals, such as lodestone, magnets can be made by humans. Magnets are used for a variety of purposes in an assortment of industries, some that children may more easily recognize if their parents work in those industries. Magnets are even found in outer space.
Explaining how magnets are made and where they can be found, and giving children a few examples of each, is important in helping them understand a little more about the wonders of magnets before introducing them to the experiments.
Magnet Experiments for Kids by Grade
Preschool to Second Grade
To start them off in a simple manner, show the kids the basic properties of magnets and how they work. Acquire some iron fillings and a magnet. To get a great 3D visual, put them in a viscous material, like honey. Sprinkle the fillings around the magnet to create a fun visual that will showcase the very basic principles of magnets.
Grades Three to Five
At this stage, you can allow the children a more hands on introduction into what magnets can do. Allow the kids to experiment with ring magnets on a pencil. This will help them to grasp the idea of magnets having poles that repel and attract each other.
Ring magnets are relatively inexpensive and can easily be stacked on each other, while being used to reinforce the idea of a magnet’s poles, where “opposites” attract and “like” repel. You can then ask the students to look for other items they believe may or may not be magnetic.
Grades Three to Five – Electrical Energy
If the students are grasping the concepts explained in the prior experiment, you can then expand with the idea of electromagnets. This is much more in-depth and should be monitored a little more closely.
Using a 9-volt battery, some insulated wire and a large nail or screw driver, the students can learn the properties of electrical conductors and insulators. Follow up by explaining that the wire is highly conductive and why the insulating material that is wrapped up is not.
The magnet in a copper tube experiment is also easy to try. Simply use a neodymium magnet and any size copper tube big enough that the magnet is able to fall through it. A few different size and thickness of tubes may be helpful to see whether that affects the speed of the magnet. Experiment with trying to stick the magnet to the tube and letting it freefall, and ask the students to report what happens. The results are quite fun!
Other Magnet Science Experiments
Slime is always fun, especially when it can be used to teach something. Just follow these instructions to make your own magnetic slime with your students.
How to make magnetic slime science experiment:
- Empty an entire bottle of white school glue into a large mixing bowl
- Reuse the empty glue bottle, fill it with water and shake it to recover all the leftover glue.
- Pour the water-glue solution into your bowl.
- Add a healthy amount of iron fullings to the glue-water mixture.
- Measure a ½ cup of warm water and pour it into a plastic cup.
- Add 1 teaspoon of borax powder into the cup and stir it until it completely dissolves.
- Add that solution into the glue concoction in the bowl.
- After washing your hands with soap and warm water first, mix the whole bowl together (don’t worry, it’s completely safe). It may take a few minutes to bond completely.
- Once done, you should be holding a large blob in your hands. Lay it down on a smooth surface, like a plate or cutting board.
- Take a magnet and hover it closely over the slime. Watch as it tries to attack the magnet!
- Store it in a Ziplock bag in the fridge to reuse it again
To find out more awesome facts about magnets or to purchase some to conduct your very own magnetic experiments for elementary school students, contact the magnet experts at Jobmaster Magnets.