Magnetix in physics class?

I like the Magnetix kits that are available in stores nowadays, and I'm trying to think of a way that I can use them in a 9th grade physical science class.

Mindlessly playing and exploring with magnets is nice for a few minutes, but I'm looking for ideas to have mind-engaging lesson that will teach the kids something.

The most obvious thing is to lay paper over the magnets, then add iron fillings. Magic! Then build 2D magnetic structures and have them predict the patterns that might appear. Lay paper over their 2D structure, add more iron filings.

We will move compasses around them and see how they are affected.

But what else to do with them? There must be some neat things to do, especially since it is so easy to make 3D magnetic structures.

This is a 9th grade high school class, so I am not getting into details like you'd find in a textbook like Giancoli Physics!

Robert

berkeman
Mentor
Make little motors and generators with the magnets and some wire. You can use a simple analog current meter to show how moving the magnet past a coil induces a current. And with some creativity, you should be able to make a DC motor with some coils and a battery....

Hmm, perhaps pedulums?

i've never used magnetics, but is it possible to make like a car or something with it? you could replace the dynamics trolley with it perhaps...i'm in A level physics at the moment..just started, so it's mostly theory, not many practicals...so i see where your coming from when you want the kids to learn something.

berkeman
Mentor
capitolmonkey said:
Hmm, perhaps pedulums?
Oh yeah, that reminds me of the great demo of strong magnets forming a thin gap, and you experiment dropping plates of different materials down through the gap. Non-conductive plates go right through, but conducting ones slow way down in the gap. Quiz question -- why? Great demo.

or maybe try to magnetize an iron bar under the magnetic field of the earth?

berkeman
Mentor
berkeman said:
Oh yeah, that reminds me of the great demo of strong magnets forming a thin gap, and you experiment dropping plates of different materials down through the gap. Non-conductive plates go right through, but conducting ones slow way down in the gap. Quiz question -- why? Great demo.
Another on-topic quiz question: What happens if you have a conductive plate/disk that has radially cut slots? Why does it act like a non-conductive plate?