Friday, November 9, 2012
This week the boys have been exploring magnetic fields. I followed the presentations given in Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding using a plastic tray (rather than the piece of poster board they recommended) and loose iron filings. However, I wasn't willing to let me kids loose all week with a shaker of iron filings. In the photo above Kal-El is using a great product from Home Science Tools called a magnetic field demonstrator. The iron filings are suspended in a liquid and sealed between two plexiglass plates.
The boys have made a lot of observations as they have used this with all of the different shapes of magnets in our collection. They have learned that the magnetic field is always there but invisible, only made visible by the iron filings. They have learned that the magnetic field is strongest as the poles, and that the field does not extend indefinitely but only for a certain distance and that it gradually decreases in strength. We still have some work to do observing the pattern the filings will make around magnets when two like poles are attracting and when two opposite poles are repelling.
We also watched another magnetism video: Bill Nye the Science Guy: Magnetism. I waited until AFTER we had done most of our experiments. The boys get really excited if they see an experiment done that they have already completed. If you were to show the video first it would ruin the discovery process. We liked the Bill Nye video. However, our favorite parts were stock footage from what looks like a NASA educational movie about magnetism from maybe the 1950's. (CORRECTION: It is from the 39 episode series "Junior Science" with Dr. Gerald Wendt. AVGeeks seems to have almost all the episodes, but perhaps not digitized yet?) They showed a small boy, about the boys' age, doing a lot of experiments that they had done with magnets. They also showed the boy in a boy scouts uniform using a magnet for orienteering (Kal-El's next interest stemming from this work). I would LOVE to be able to watch the old Junior Science series. If anyone knows how to access them LET ME KNOW!
Please don't forget vote for me today for the Homeschool Blog Awards. You can vote for me EVERY DAY, you can vote more than once if you own mulitiple devices! My category is Best Homeschooling Methods Blog 2012 .