• 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 and are led by an instructor.

  • 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.

  • Teacher Workshops

    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.

  • Scouts

    The best place for Scouts to explore STEAM! 

  • Summer Camp

    Through the Unity in Learning partnership, Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, Leslie Science & Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum now offer families incredible day camps at two fantastic locations in Ann Arbor and Belleville.

  • 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

WORKSHOP Magnetism

Outreach Workshop: Magnetism

Use magnets to perform tasks and learn basic magnet vocabulary. Explore how magnets work and how we use them in our daily lives.

Fees are determined by distance from the Museum:

  • Within 25 miles: $340
  • 26-50 miles: $370
  • 51+ miles: $370 + $.54 per mile
  • Each additional hour: $125

Register today!

Michigan K-12 Science Standards


Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.


Define a simple design problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets.

Magnetism Pre-visit Vocabulary

Aluminum: A light, silver-white, metal that is not magnetic.

Attract: A pulling force.

Copper: A reddish brown metal that is not magnetic.

Core: The center of the earth, composed of iron and nickel.

Ferromagnetic: Any metal that is attracted to magnets.

Iron: A hard, silvery-gray, magnetic metal, found in rocks and in red blood cells.

Magnet: A solid object that attracts certain metals, for example iron or steel.

Magnetic: Ability to attract certain metals.

Nickel: A hard, silvery-white magnetic metal found in rocks and meteorites.

Non-magnetic: An object that does not attract metals.

Poles: Opposite ends of a magnet.

Repel: A pushing force.

Magnetism Post-visit Activity

Post-visit activities provide your students with an opportunity to review workshop-presented concepts and introduce related subjects. Below you will find a classroom extension activity and a list of suggested resources for further exploration. We hope that you enjoyed our Outreach Hands-On Workshop and we look forward to visiting your students again!

Hands-on Activity: Make a Compass


  • Steel sewing needles (if you have a sufficiently strong magnet, you can use a small paperclip)
  • Tape
  • Bar magnets
  • Shallow plastic containers
  • Dish soap
  • Thin slices of cork (available in sheets at hardware or building supply stores)
  • Water


  1. Rub the bar magnet across the needle at least 30 times in one direction only. Start at the hole end and rub towards the point end.
  2. Fill the container with water and place a drop of dish soap in the center.
  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 should point north.
  6. Hold the bar magnet near the needle, but not touching. Rotate the bar magnet and see what happens to the compass.


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 a 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


Activities for Kids. Learning Triangle Press, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1997.
Fowler, Allan. What Magnets Can Do. Children’s Press, Chicago, IL. 1995.
Rowe, Julian and Molly Perham. Amazing Magnets. Children’s 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.


The Exploratorium Teacher Institute — Magnetism
The Exploratorium Teacher Institute — Magnets
Canada Science and Technology Museum — Magnets
Canada Science and Technology Museum — Lesson Plan Ideas

WORKSHOP Magnetism


Library, School

50 minutes

PreK, K-2nd, 3-5th, 6-8th


Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences

Still not sure we have the experience you want?

Visit unityinlearning.org to open a gateway to hands-on discovery, exploration of the natural world, and experiences that take flight.

Through the Unity in Learning partnership with the Ann Arbor Hands-On MuseumLeslie Science and Nature Center, and Yankee Air Museum we provide over 100 different  programs at our facilities, on site at your location, or through interactive video conferencing.