This activity, an invitation to hypothesize about magnetism, is designed for upper grade schoolers, ages 10–12 years old, and is part of a set of six activities for children and teens about Exploring Magnetism.
For children of this age group, it is important to make them feel like they are brilliant at something. We know about magnetism because of our age and previous knowledge, but act as if you are completely unsure and unaware of any magnets or magnetic items as they hypothesize about where they might find magnets within your home! Their confidence will soar and encourage growth for the next activities.
Hypothesize About Magnetism
Help them to make a hypothesis list about items in your household. They can either draw a picture of the item or write the name of the item down, put a check mark or an X next to it, and then go on a field trip around the house testing their hypotheses.
Here are some items to present to them to get started:
Stainless steel (SS) cookware
SS utensils, including chopsticks
SS scouring sponge (surprise!)
Washing machine drum
Scissors, plier, shears, can-opener and knife
Cast iron cookware
Cast iron stove cap and grid
Hammer, wrench, and spanner
Bolt and nut
Screw and screw hook
Picture hanging plate
Round binder clip
Batteries, such as AA and AAA
USB drive connector
Now go on a hunt WITH a magnet and test out what all a magnet will stick to inside of your kitchen! Then you may move about the house to another room if their curiosity is still sparked. BUT be sure to have a serious discussion about how magnets can RUIN electronics first and only continue if you are certain that they understand.
Extending the Learning About Magnetism
To think even bigger and broader, you should do this same activity with things that can be found in your backyard or even at a park!
I hope that you and your child have fun together! The next activity in this series is Activity for Middle Schoolers (13–15 years old).
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.