I ask students to sit on the meeting place rug to see some cool magnet demonstrations that they will be able to try at free choice or in the science center later in the day and this week.
I explain to students that there are so many interesting things that magnets can do that we didn't get a chance to learn about or experiment with that I'd like to show them.
I ask that students sit on their bottoms and watch quietly.
I wanted to do a more open ended lesson for students to do some more exploring with the magnets before the unit was over. Their natural curiosity on this topic had taken over! I noticed students engaging in there own investigations with magnets whenever they were present.
I show students several different demonstrations with a magnet.
You will need a very strong magnet for these tricks. These can be found at your local hardware store.
Demonstration #1: I pour a small bowl of bran flakes. I crush the bran up as fine as you can get it and while doing this, I explain to students that a lot of the foods that we eat contain iron. Iron is an element that our bodies need. I also explain that iron is a magnetic element. By this time the flakes are crushed. I put the magnet down in the bowl and scrape it around. When I pull the magnet out, you can see very small pieces stuck to the magnet. I explain to students that this is the iron in the food.
Demonstration #2: Using the same very strong magnet, I put paper clips in my hand and hold my hand out flat. I then put the magnet under my hand to make the clips move in my hand. Students love this one and they are surprised that the magnet can work through my hand.
Demonstration #3: I read Mickey's Magnet to the students. It's the story of of a boy who discovers he can pick up his mother's dropped pins by using a magnet. I read this to them because at the end of the story, it explains to children how to make a steel object magnetized by rubbing it on a magnet. The kids are fascinated by this.
By exposing the students to these 3 different demonstrations it builds on their understanding of how magnets function. It also gives me an opportunity to review the that their are different strength magnets that are used for different purposes.
In closing, I say to students, "There are so many other fun tricks and things you can do with magnets. I'm going to give you the job of going home and finding out another fun trick that you can do with a magnet."
I assign the students the homework task (sort of like a science project) of coming up with or researching and learning a new magnet trick with their family.
I send home a form and a letter explaining to families what the assignment is. Students are then to come back with the know how to show the class their trick.
These kind of homework assignments help to involve the family in learning about magnets. This gives the student another opportunity to share what they have learned in school.