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  • STEM at Home

    Discover science and connect to the natural world while staying safe and healthy at home!

    Check out our virtual programming schedule and browse through our list of resources, activities, crafts, videos, and more to help continue to bring science into your world.

  • 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

    Our Outreach staff brings the Museum to you—at schools, libraries, community centers, and festivals—by delivering hands-on programming customized to your schedule and curriculum interests.

  • Distance Learning

    Experience live, interactive Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum programs right in your classroom! Our educators use videoconferencing technology to share science and math activities with your students, engaging them in a dynamic, hands-on learning experience.

  • 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 Magnificent Magnets

Outreach Workshop: Magnificent Magnets

Stick with us as we explore the golden rule of magnets, sort through what materials are magnetic or non-magnetic, and even make a magnet float in mid-air.

Fees are determined by distance from the Museum:

  • Within 25 miles: $340
  • 26-50 miles: $370
  • 51+ miles: $370 + $.58 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.

WORKSHOP Magnificent Magnets


Library, School

50 minutes



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.