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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Magnetic Attraction

First:  Create plastic bags with various everyday items. 

Small pieces of paper, electrical cords with copper wire exposed, hair clips, rubber bands, nails, plastic, sea shells, paperclips, pencils, crayons, aluminum foil, coins and whatever you find that would make the activity interesting.

Magnets are attracted to irons, nickel and cobalt. Alloys of some of these metals such as some steels are attracted to magnets. A good example of a mixture are the plastic strips that adhere to a refrigerator. A magnetizable powder is mixed with vinyl to create these. 

Second: Pass out magnets and plastic bags with items for students to test.

Students can record their data on a table like the one below. Or you could place the table on the whiteboard or bulletin board for the class to record their results.

Remove each item from the plastic bag and test each one with the bar magnet.  Items attracted to the magnet will stick to the magnet. Record your results on the table below. 
Attracted to the magnet
No attraction to the magnet

Magnet facts
v Items attracted to a magnet contain iron, nickel or cobalt.

v A magnet is strongest at the poles.

v Like poles of a magnet will repel.  Unlike poles of a magnet will attract.

v The Earth is a giant magnet.   The Sun and Jupiter also have a magnetic field.

Extra activity for the SUPER learner!
Take two ring magnets and slide them over a pencil.   Observe what happens.   Take the top magnet off, flip the magnet over, and slide the magnet back on the pencil.   Observe what happens.

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