Sunday, January 29, 2012

Magnetism and Electricity...what's the relationship?

Have you ever stopped to think...what's the relationship between magnetism and electricity?  Why do we teach them together after all?  My little brain has a hard time making connections to higher level science, but this one I get! 

We are currently working on Magnetism and Electricity using the FOSS kit by the same name.  This is my third year teaching it with students (as well as many sessions with adults) and it always blows my mind how Dr. Lowery connects the concepts in such a concrete way. 

On an aside note, I have met Dr. Lowery several times with my journeys with FOSS and I absolutely love the man.  Here we are at the Hotel Roanoke together...bad picture, but still one I treasure....  That's me on the right with my science BFF's Rita behind me and Sherrie on the left. 

Anyway...back to school...I had always played around with magnets when I taught K-2 and knew that this was an important science concept. But I thought it stopped there.  NOW I  know better.  In the beginning of our unit the kids spend a lot of time identifying objects that are made of steel or iron that are attracted to magnets. They are also the same objects that are good for conducting electricity.  This week learned how to create temporary or induced magnetism by chaining objects together.  This will come back again when we learn to create an electromagnet.  Without electromagnetism we would not have so many of our modern inventions - including the TV, Computer, etc...

Now, remember how I've talked so much about MISUNDERSTANDINGS?  We had a big one today - one group showed me this chain:
    They were so proud of their thinking until I pointed out that it was hooked to the desk an iron object and therefore the magnetism wasn't so much chaining but just attaching.    When they took it off the desk and tried to recreate it, it naturally fell apart. 

Lesson learned! 

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