This activity, an invitation to collect and analyze data by finding magnets, is designed for high schoolers, ages 15–17 years old, and is part of a set of six activities for children and teens about Exploring Magnetism.
Applying Their Knowledge Towards Finding Magnets
If your kid is in high school then they have most likely learned about almost all of the things pertaining to magnets. (Or at least they would have if they went to SST! 🙂 ) But something they MIGHT not have been able to do yet is FIND magnets for themselves!
You will of course need to set boundaries for this experiment . . . OR they will begin to take apart ALL of your valuables just to find magnets! Talk about safety procedures and protective equipment, as there is always a risk for injury when working with tools and electronics.
In preparation for this activity, I would have your teenager read over this blog post. Bribe them if you need to! It will either refresh their memory and prime it for magnetism knowledge and experiments, or expose them to some needed vocabulary to help enhance this experience.
After they read over the blog, have them write down a list of things they think MIGHT have magnets in them. Then ask: where would you find them in your house? On the inside of cabinets? On the refrigerator? Perhaps in a toolbox? If you only have a few things you are willing to let them destroy and take apart, put those on a table in front of them. Tell them they have to write down their hypothesis before they get the tool box!
If you are anything like me, you have been saving stuff to donate since before the pandemic, and the hoard has only gotten worse as you spend more time in your house with the need to declutter a bit. So just go through all of that junk and spare some things for the sake of learning!
I had an old fan, an old CD player, large speakers, an Xbox controller, some earbuds, a mouse, a charger, all just sitting there on the top of the “donate pile” in my garage . . . so that’s what we went with!
Materials Needed for Finding Magnets
Heavy duty yard work gloves
A wide variety of tools you are comfortable with your teenager using
Old electronics you don’t care about anymore
Paper and pencil
First aid kit—just in case!
Encourage them to use their knowledge to try finding magnets on their own. I ENCOURAGE YOU to watch this video to give YOU some ideas on ways to help them if they struggle.
Extending the Learning About Magnetism
For a full list of all six activities in this series please click here.
Kelly Alston is a kindergarten teacher at the School of Science and Technology—Discovery who has been in love with learning for almost two decades. She has been happily married for almost 11 years and has a super rambunctious almost-eight-year-old daughter who loves science! Kelly herself is extremely extroverted and misses being in crowds of children and people in her classroom or at summer camp, but her introverted husband and daughter have been helping her to find joy in new ways, like making masks for their friends and family in their spare time.