• Field Trip

    More than 250 interactive science, technology, energy and health exhibits await students of all ages.  We’re experts at making sure that bringing your group to the Museum is smooth sailing all the way. Discounted admission for groups of 20 or more!

  • ScienceWorks

    Your students become scientists during our ScienceWorks Labs. All programs align with National Science Education Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and Common Core State Standards. Labs are available year-round for preschool to middle school students.

  • Outreach

    It's Science on Wheels: We bring the Museum to you!  We offer fun, inquiry-based programs for the students in your classroom, library, festival or youth center! All programs address objectives outlined in the Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations and include pre- and post-visit activities.

  • Distance Learning

    Our educators use videoconferencing to engage your students in a dynamic, hands-on learning experience. Program kits sent to classroom teachers include nearly everything you need for experiments. Kits are yours to keep! All programs address National Science Education Standards and align with Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations.

  • Professional Development

    Join us for fast-paced, hands-on teacher workshops that provide elementary and middle school educators with new hands-on tools for incorporating interactive science and math activities into your classroom.  Join us for professional development opportunities both at the museum and at your school.

  • Scout Camp-Ins

    Stay overnight with us as we dive deep into science experiments! These events are designed especially for our Scout audience. 

  • Summer Camp

    Explore week-long science and math activities in conjuntion with Ann Arbor Rec&Ed and other local organizations.  Elementary and middle school children can investigate a different theme each week through hands-on and engaging fun.

  • Birthday Parties

    What do you get when you mix one part science, one part fun, and one part celebration? A birthday party at the Museum! Experience a birthday full of discovery by exploring more than 250 exhibits and experimenting with a hands-on activity. Celebrate in a unique and interactive environment to make your special day really special!

  • Evening Workshops

    Want to dive deeply into specific topics? Join us for an Evening Workshop! Explore a variety of science concepts through hands-on activities, interactive demos, and experiments in a small group setting. Topics vary from stop-motion animation to computer programming to engineering – there’s sure to be something that piques your interest!

Back to Programs

Standard Lab: Marvelous Magnets (K-1st)

Learn about magnets as we sort materials into magnetic and non-magnetic groups. Explore whether all metals are magnetic, make magnets attract and repel, even get them to float in mid-air! Register today!

Cost: $3 per student

Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, Science v.1.09

  • Demonstrate pushes and pulls on objects that can move. (P.FM.00.31)
  • Demonstrate the ability to sort objects according to observable attributes such as color, shape, size, sinking or floating. (P.PM.01.11)
  • Identify materials that are attracted by magnets. (P.PM.01.31)
  • Observe that like poles of a magnet repel and unlike poles of a magnet attract. (P.PM.01.32)

Next Generation Science Standards

Students participating in this program will explore science content as stated in the Disciplinary Core Ideas. They will engage in science and engineering practices as they plan and conduct investigations to answer questions regarding magnetism.

PS2.A: Forces and Motion

  • Pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions.

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

  • Objects in contact exert forces on each other.
  • Electric and magnetic forces between a pair of objects do not require that the objects be in contact. The sizes of the forces in each situation depend on the properties of the objects and their distances apart and, for forces between two magnets, on their orientation relative to each other.
  • Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects.
  • Forces that act at a distance (electric, magnetic, and gravitational) can be explained by fields that extend through space and can be mapped by their effect on a test object (a charged object, or a ball, respectively).

Marvelous Magnets Pre-visit Information

During Your Visit to the ScienceWorks Lab students will be expected to:

  • Sit in tables of 6 students and (at least) 1 adult
  • Students should be prepared to give their attention to the Lab instructors when requested to “Give Me Five”
  • Work cooperatively with one another at the table
  • Follow the hands-on procedures just as the Lab teacher or assistant explains them
  • Handle materials and equipment carefully

It is important that teachers and chaperones:

  • Help to focus the students’ attention
  • Assist students with the hands-on activities and experiments when necessary
  • Turn off cell phones and pagers during the class

Vocabulary

Attract: To attract means to pull towards. Magnets attract, or pull towards and stick to, certain kinds of metal.

Compass: A compass is an instrument for determining directions by pointing to the Earth’s magnetic north pole.

Force: A push or pull exerted on an object.

Magnet: A magnet is a piece of metal that can attract, or pull towards, another piece of metal. Only certain kinds of metal are magnetic.

Magnetic Field: The magnetic field of a magnet is the magnet’s pull, or force. It works in the area all around the magnet.

Magnetic Metals: Magnetic metals are those metals that magnets attract, or stick to. They are iron, steel, cobalt and nickel.

Poles: The poles of a magnet are the two areas of the magnet where the magnetic force is strongest. Every magnet has a north pole and a south pole.

Repulsion: To repel means to push away. Two magnets with the same poles facing each other (such as a south and a south or a north and a north) will repel each other.

Marvelous Magnets Post-visit Activity: Make a Compass

Post-visit activities will help reiterate new concepts and tie the ScienceWorks Lab experience to your classroom curriculum. Below you will find a classroom activity and a list of suggested resources for further information. We hope that you enjoyed your field trip. Visit us again!

Materials

  • Steel sewing needles
  • Tape
  • Bar magnets
  • Shallow plastic containers
  • Water
  • Thin slices of cork (available in sheets at hardware or building supply stores)

Procedure

  1. Rub the bar magnet across the needle at least 30 times in one direction only. Start at the eye end and rub towards the point end.
  2. Fill the container with water.
  3. Lay the needle across the center of the cork. Attach with tape.
  4. Float the cork slice in the center of the container.
  5. Spin it very gently if necessary. When it stops, it will point north.

Discussion

A compass is a tool used to find directions. It can help people figure out which way to go when they are traveling.

By rubbing the needle with the bar magnet, you made the needle a temporary magnet. By floating it in the water, you created a compass. A compass is s free-floating magnet.

Planet Earth acts like a huge weak bar magnet. It has a magnetic field around it and it has a North and South Pole. The needle of a compass always points toward magnetic north.

Suggested Resources

Books

Fowler, Allan. What Magnets Can Do. Childrens Press, Chicago, IL. 1995.
Rowe, Julian and Molly Perham. Amazing Magnets. Childrens Press, Chicago, IL. 1994.
Science Made Simple Grades 1-6. Frank Schaffer Productions, CA. 1997.
Tolman, Marvin N. Hands-On Physical Science Activities for Grades 2-8. Parker Publishing Company, Inc., NY. 1995.
Vecchione, Glen. Magnet Science. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, NY. 1995.
Wood, Robert W. Electricity and Magnetism FUNdamentals: Funtastic Science Activities for Kids. Learning Triangle Press,McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1997.

Internet

Science Wire
Creative Kids at Home

Standard Lab: Marvelous Magnets (K-1st)

ScienceWorks

School

50 minutes

K-2nd

20, 30, 60, 100

Physical Sciences