Hands-on Homeschooling: Magnetic Science







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Posted on Oct 7 2014 - 11:00am by Megan
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As the kids in our science co-op have gotten older, I’ve changed the way I teach. Instead of walking them through the steps while completing the experiments and activities, I now set up work stations.

Recently we used this method to study magnetism and it was a successful way to keep our middle school kids engaged and learning.

Each station was equipped with the materials they needed and an instruction sheet. You’ll see in the examples below that I’m not giving the students instructions on how to complete the activity, instead, I’m telling them what their end result should be.

By doing this, the kids learned as they moved around completing the various activities by using their critical thinking skills and working together.

Hands-on Homeschooling: Magnetic Science

How to Plan a Work Station Based Science Class

  • Which activities will the kids complete?
  • Will you put the kids into groups? How and how many?
  • Is there an order to how they will rotate around the stations?
  • Print out each station’s instructions as well as a sheet for the students to write their hypothesis/observations.
  • Gather your materials and set up the stations.

Activity Ideas for a Magnetic Science Class

Materials Needed:

  • Magnets (3 bar magnets and 1 block magnet)
  • Small iron rod
  • Household items (drinking glass half filled with water, scotch tape, ruler, paper clip, cardboard, aluminum foil, fabric, 2-4 pencils)

Hands-on Homeschooling: Magnetic Science

Station #1

Materials: 2 bar magnets, tape, 2-4 pencils

Student Instructions: Using the tools provided, see if you can get one magnet to hover above the other.

What happens?

How it works: Put the pencils in between the magnets and tape the magnets together. Remove the pencils. When you remove the pencils, the magnetic force and tape should work together to keep the magnets in place.

Station #2

Materials: 1 block magnet, 1 iron rod, cardboard, fabric, aluminum foil, ruler

Student Instructions: Place the iron rod on the table and see how close you can get the block magnet before the rod starts rolling toward it.

Measure the distance and record it.

Now try it again, but with the various objects in between the magnet and iron rod (cardboard, fabric, and aluminum foil).

See if there is a difference now that something is in between them. Compare the distances to see which items blocked the magnetic field the most.

How it Works: Some items block the magnet’s force more than others.

Hands-on Homeschooling: Magnetic Science

Station #3

Materials: 1 drinking glass half filled with water with the paper clip in it, 1 bar magnet

Student Instructions: Without getting the magnet wet, see if you can remove the paper clip from the glass.

How was this able to work?

How it Works: Glass and water do not block a magnet’s force. If you put the magnet against the glass near the paper clip, the magnet will attract the paper clip, making it easy for you to slide it up the side of the glass.

Kids love to play around with magnets, so consider using their natural interest to build a science lesson. 

Have your older students studied magnetism yet? What activities did you use?

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  • Very very cool! I never thought to extend the magnetism experiments to include what might or might not block it. I will be trying this with my 8yo after school! Thanks 🙂

  • Thank you Elaine! There are so many great things you can do with magnets. I hope you had fun completing the activities with your 8yo.