Monday, June 24, 2013

Hypothesis with Magnets & Metals Activity Center

In this activity I used magnets and metals to help preschoolers form hypotheses, test them out, and report their findings. This encourages your child to use math, science, reasoning,spacial and kinesthetic skills. You will need magnets and metals along with pen and paper for reporting the findings in this experiment.

How to Run the Hypothesis with Magnets & Metals Center

You will need:

  • strips of masking tape
  • markers
  • drawing paper
  • pens, pencils or markers for drawing
  • ruler (If doing this with older children) 
  • magnetic objects
  • magnets
1.) Let your child observe the metal items and play with them with the magnet. Give them their own time and space to explore without direction from you. This will familiarize them with their supplies and give them some previous knowledge when forming their hypothesis. 

2.) Explain that you will be doing a science experiment to discover which items are drawn to the magnet faster and more slowly than others. Hold up two items and ask your child which he/she thinks will be pulled to the magnet first and why/how they came up with their answer. 

3.) Have the child draw the two items on their paper (Or write them down if the student is older).

4.) Mark or label the one they chose in some way on their paper.

5.) Put a strip of masking tape on the table or floor.

6.) Make a line at both ends of the tape; one where the items are set and the other where the magnet starts.

7.) Set the first item on the line and have your child move the magnet very slowly along the tape and stop at the moment that the item is pulled to the magnet. Mark this distance on the tape.

8.) Do the same for the second item.

9.) Have them report their findings. Which item moved faster and which moved slower and why do they think this is so?

10.) Repeat this experiment with other sets of items and discover if reasoning changes.

*For the preschoolers I had them use their paper as a "Scientific Journal" where they cataloged their items to be tested. (Drew or traced the items on the paper).

Then we took turns moving the magnet on the tape to  test each item individually (rather than in sets) and discuss the results (the marks on the paper helped us remember which ones were faster and slower). Some students felt obliged to make markings on their journals to indicate the faster items.

* This center can be done together a few times and then left as an independent activity for your child to experiment with on his/her own.

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