Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Magnetism!

 As you may recall, our first Great Lesson (God with no Hands) led to an interest in the layers of the Earth, which led to an interest in magnetism.  This is a good example of how the Great Lessons inspire work across subject areas as well as an example of how the "key" lessons in the albums can and should lead to interest in topics outside the albums.  Magnetism isn't covered in my albums beyond a discussion of gravity so last week I turned to several pages of lesson plans in Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2.  We had fulfilled the prerequisites specified for this topic in the book during Montessori primary.  So, we were able to plow full steam ahead into magnetism starting with magnetic/not-magnetic work with the materials we had on hand which bought me time to outfit ourselves with some more magnetism resources.

In the photo above Me Too is working with an amazing set of magnets by Lauri  (Fun with Magnets).  I also bought an inexpensive set (Magnets and more 24 piece set by toysmith, which by they way has horrible reviews.  They are plastic like the reviews say but mine all work and pick up the things I need them to...paper clips, washers and the like.) to outfit us with the more standard horseshoe, bar and ring magnet equipment.  Kal-El is working with that set below.

The second suggested activity in Foundations of Scientific Understanding was to let the child explore a collection of many different types of magnets in order to discover the concepts of "attraction", "repulsion" and "poles" on their own.  They certainly did!  Me Too was the first to shout out "I've discovered something!"

We are happy with both sets, but I can't say enough good things about the Lauri set.  It comes with a few neat things.  The combination of the balls with the wand is genius.  It also came with a nice set of 14 experiments on cards that I bound into a book.  Kal-El was able to read and execute 12 of the 14 experiments himself.  It would have been 14/14 if he had access to the materials for the last two.  All of the magnets are waterproof...handy for a few of the experiments.  Also, the magnets are rather large which discourages swallowing (for those of you who still have both feet in Montessori primary).

One of the experiments in the Lauri kit was to tape the included washers to the included foam boats.  Then, you float them in a pie plate full of water so that you can drive the boats with with a magnet either above or below the boat.  In the above photo Me Too is driving his boat with the wand below and Kal-El is driving his with a horseshoe magnet above.

Everyone's favorite experiment involved inserting a 2" iron bar into a foam base then adding two ring magnets with like poles facing one another.

Can you see how one ring magnet floats above the other?

Kal-El was so independent with the experiments that I didn't get a photo of them all.  He keeps repeating them, so I might get some photos in the upcoming days.

Kal-El remembered that the book we read last week, What Makes a Magnet?, suggested that he explore the magnets that seal our refrigerator shut and he did so.

Last night the whole family watched a fun video called The Science of Disney Imagineering: Magnetism and the boys really enjoyed it. They learned, among other things, how magnets can be used to power a roller coaster and produce sound through speakers.

Some of the nomenclature covered this week included:  magnetism, repulsion, poles, permanent magnets, temporary magnets, and electrons.  We have more magnet work to show you in upcoming posts!
Montessori Monday


  1. What awesome work! I have another kit, but not Lauri, I am off to check it out!

  2. Really great work! Your boys are doing amazing work!I will have to check out the magnets since it is something I dont have many of! Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Adding the Lauri kit to our Christmas list. This work looks like a lot of fun. Bear and J-jo will love it. You weren't disappointed with the other magnet set? It didn't have very positive reviews on Amazon when I looked at it.

  4. The Girl who Painted Trees,

    I must not be very discerning when it comes to magnets because, no I thought they were fine. I just looked at the reviews. I don' t know how I happened to buy something with such poor reviews. They are plastic like the reviews say, but they all work and they pick up paperclips, washers and nuts like I need them to for now. It will be interesting to see how they do with the iron filings next week.

    Probably later we'll need to do more serious work and I'll be sorry I didn't just get a super nice set to start with.

  5. It looks like they had SO much fun! (and will for a long time!).

    I have found many times I have great success (or miserable failure) with something that someone else had just the opposite experience - even multiple people having the same opposite experience! It could be expectations, usage, or the company changing the quality of their product... Who knows!

  6. What awesome activities and resources! Thanks for sharing so many links ... and thanks for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: