We had a big assembly in the gym this morning involving a martial arts studio. The discussion was on bullying.
Since the assembly ran over, we did not switch for literacy and math though this was still a reteach day.
In science, we did our first make-and-take: electromagnets! Each student was given a common nail, a length of magnet wire, and a ziplock bag for taking it home. The AA battery and paperclips were shared as each student was given a partner to work with.
First, students needed to do the warm-up below and were encouraged to use their notes.
I first demonstrated the concepts of electromagnetism and how an electrical charge can create a magnetic field. The first demonstration involved wrapping about 2 1/2 feet of wire around a compass. The wire was connected to a knife-style switch and a 6 volt lantern battery.
Here is the compass with the current off:
Here is the compass with the current switched on:
I also used a demonstrator electromagnet to show them before moving on to the actual activity.
To make the electromagnet, students wrapped a length of magnet wire around the nail in a relatively tight coil. The key was to leave about the length of their index finger on each end for the battery. Once everyone had their's ready, I had them place the tip of the nail on the pile of paperclips and observe what happened when the nail and wire were lifted - nothing! Then by attaching the end of each wire to a terminal on the battery, we repeated the process and this time, to varying degrees of success, paperclips were lifted! When the connection, and thus the circuit was broken, the paperclips dropped - most of them. A couple can be temporarily magnetized, which is normal.