Looking for some easy science activities? Check out these simple magnet experiments help kids explore the properties of magnets. Includes free printable worksheets. Perfect for teaching kindergarten and first grade.
Have you ever seen a young child playing with a magnet? They seem to find them fascinating. It is easy to understand why. Magnets seem to possess magical properties. I had a set of magnets when I was a kid and spent many happy hours playing with them. I loved watching how two magnets could attract or repel each other. Of course, I had no idea I was learning some fundamental scientific principals. I was just having fun.
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WHY SHOULD WE HAVE MAGNETS IN THE CLASSROOM?
The National Science Education Standards recommend that students in grades K–4 explore the topic of magnetism. More specifically, “Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials.”
Inviting children to explore the properties of magnets is a simple science activity that works really well in the classroom setting. Experiments with magnets are easy to set up and provide the opportunity for children to make discoveries in a hands-on way. As they play with the magnets, children will
- conduct investigations
- make predictions
- record data
- ask questions
- draw conclusions from their observations
Wow! All that learning from a few magnets! And without any mess!
A WORD OF CAUTION
Before we continue, I want to start with a couple of cautions.
Magnets are dangerous if ingested. We would hope that Kindergarten/grade 1 students no longer put everything in their mouths, but we can’t count on it. It is best to err on the side of caution and use large magnets that cannot possibly fit into a child’s mouth.
Magnets are also used in a wide range of electronic equipment. Placing a strong magnet near to computers, televisions, or cell phones may cause damage. Keep magnets and electronics apart.
EASY SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS WITH MAGNETS (FREE PRINTABLE)
We will show you how to set up some easy science experiments to help students investigate the properties of magnets. You can enjoy the experiments with the whole class or set them up as independent inquiry in a science center.
Some basic concepts students will learn
- Magnets attract some objects, but not others.
- Magnetic objects are metal.
- Not all metal objects are magnetic
We have created some free worksheets for you to use with children at a variety of skill levels! Here’s what you’ll get
Sorting Labels: Children will use magnets to sort the objects into two containers. Materials that are magnetic and those that are not. The Printable has labels for the two containers. We’ve provided these labels in both color or black and white.
Worksheet 1: Children will use magnets to sort objects into two groups. Materials that are magnetic and those that are not. They will record the magnetic objects on their sheet. They will also think about what the magnetic objects have in common.
Worksheet 2: Children will investigate a variety of objects. These will include metals that are magnetic and some that are not. Students will
- Record the name of each object
- Make a prediction about whether the object will be magnetic or not
- Use the magnet to see if they are right.
- Finally, they will record what they discovered.
BONUS WORKSHEET: Children will see what happens when you place one magnet next to another. They will discover
- Magnets have both a North and a South pole.
- If you place the unlike poles of two magnets near each other, they will stick together (attract).
- When you place like poles of two magnets near each, they push each other away (repel).
Instructions for setting up both experiments are included in the free download.
HOW TO USE THE PRINTABLES
Download and print the files.
For solo or group work
Set up a science center as directed in the printable. Students can work in small groups, or individually, to fill out the worksheets.
Prepare the children by reading them a magnet-related book such as:
Invite children to share their experiences of magnets by asking questions like.
- What kinds of magnets do you have at home?
- Tell me some things you can do with magnets.
- What toys do you have that use magnets?
- Describe some of the things that stick to magnets?
Follow the instructions in the printable to do the two experiments as a class. Children can fill out their own worksheets or work in small groups. Discuss the questions together.
- Invite students to explore the classroom with a magnet. They can discover what items can and cannot be picked up with magnets.
- Help students create two lists of classroom items that are magnetic and non-magnetic.
- Ask students to create posters showing magnetic and non-magnetic objects.
- Scatter many paperclips on a cookie sheet. Invite students to move a magnet wand over the top of the cookie sheet and watch the paperclips dance.
- Collect some books about magnets and make them available to students who want to read more. Here are some suggestions.
Check out these AMAZING books:
Have you ever used magnets in the classroom? What experiments did you do? What are your favorite Magnet resources?
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