26 January 2011

Fun with magnets

It's been a while since I did a "school" post so I thought I'd share some of the fun we are having with Magnets in Grade 3K at the moment. Mr Dy is having so much fun he keeps getting his phone out to take photos of what we are doing! That of course reminds me that I should be taking some photos too, so out comes my trusty little camera.

The unit we are working on is an inquiry based unit, involving lots of experiments, as well as some fun demonstrations. The school had a number of magnets, and I was able to purchase some additional ones locally for a very reasonable cost. Generally that means the children can work in pairs or sometimes groups of 3 to complete the activities, ensuring that everyone is actively involved. In each activity they have to predict what is going to happen first, and write it down or draw it, and then they do the activity. One of the first things the children explored was our classroom, and they were amazed to discover some items they thought the magnets should attract were not attracted at all. Now I wonder why that might be.

Where is it hiding?

OK, let's find it!

Deep in concentration.
 Activities have included finding "invisible" items, testing to find out what objects are attracted by the magnet and which ones are, thinking about what objects are made of and how that affects their magnetism, checking out what happens when you have two magnets and you put them together different ways, and today we started looking at magnetic fields (using iron filings).

How does this work?

Why did it do that?

OK, what's next?

Working together

Writing it up
As you can see from these photos, all the children are involved, and I'm fairly confident they are learning things. That doesn't just mean learning about science. They are also learning a thing or two about working with together, and sharing ideas, and especially about communicating their ideas. Although I'm teaching in English, I'm working closely with Mr Dy so the children can also build the relevant Khmer vocabulary to discuss their ideas in both languages. Tonight's project is laminating some bi-lingual vocabulary cards to put up on display. Thanks to Mr Dy for his translation work.

The students have also had opportunities to continue their learning at home, searching their home for magnets, and for items that are attracted to magnets. It's so much fun seeing the children learn this way, even if it does take a heap of preparation to make it work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments with hyperlinks to other sites will not be published on this site.