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Uploaded:2017-09-21
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Jessi brought one of her favorite toys to the fort, a magnet! Let's see what it can stick to!

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SOURCES:

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/magnetism.html
http://easyscienceforkids.com/all-about-magnetism/
http://www.pre-kpages.com/science-kids-magnet-science-activity/
This is one of my favorite toys.

All I have to do is hold them like this … and they stick together, without any glue or tape! Maybe you have a toy like ours, one that has parts that stick together.

Or maybe you have letters that stick to your refrigerator, or to a whiteboard. Did you ever wonder why they don’t just fall to the ground? Well, it’s because they use magnets.

A magnet is something that can put a special kind of force on something else. A force can be a push or a pull. A lot of the time, we think about a magnet as attracting, or pulling on, something else, The magnets that are in my toy pull on, or, ‘attract’, this little ball, and when they get close enough, they stick to each other!

If you have a magnet at home, you can see how it attracts this type of paper clip. If I move the magnet slowly toward the paper clip ... the magnet pulls on the paper clip until the two objects are completely stuck together. And once they’re stuck, they stay stuck, until I put a force of my own on the paper clip by pulling them apart!

You might have noticed that I didn’t even have to touch the magnet to the paper clip to get them to stick together! That’s because there’s an invisible area all around that magnet that can attract certain things, called the magnetic field. You can see how strong a magnet is by seeing how close you have to get to the object before the magnet starts to pull.

If your magnet is pretty strong, it will be able to pull on objects that are farther away than weaker magnets. And a magnetic field can do some pretty neat things. Check this out!

If I put my paper clip on top of the paper, and my magnet below the paper … I can move the paper clip without using my fingers at all! That’s because the invisible magnetic field pulls on the paper clip right through the paper. Even though the magnet isn’t actually touching the paper clip, it’s still pulling on it, and that’s enough to make the paper clip move!

But just because something is attracted by a magnet, that doesn’t mean it’s a magnet itself. For example, we just saw that my magnet sticks to this paper clip. But the paper clip won’t attract or stick to another paper clip!

That’s because it’s the magnet that’s special, and doing the attracting. Now, magnets don’t attract all things. For example, this magnet doesn’t stick to me, but it does stick to Squeak’s nose!

The magnet also isn’t attracted to the table. But we already know it attracts the paper clip! Hmmm … I wonder what else this magnet will attract?

I have some spoons I picked up from the Fort’s kitchen. Let’s play a game: I’ll hold up a spoon, and you and Squeaks can guess if the magnet will attract it or not! Okay, first, let’s try this wooden spoon.

What do you think, Squeaks? [Squeaks guesses no] You’re right, it doesn’t attract the wood. How about this plastic spoon? [Squeaks guesses no again] You’re right again ! Magnets also don’t attract plastic.

How about … this spoon? [Squeaks guesses yes] They stick! So, let’s see … of all the things we tried, the magnet only was attracted to the little ball, the paper clip, and the spoon! And there’s something they all have in common — something that makes them similar enough to be attracted to my magnet.

What do you think, Squeaks? Yeah! They’re all made of metal.

Things that are metal are usually pretty shiny, and they’re often hard, and kind of heavy for their size — like how the metal spoon is heavier than the plastic spoon, even though they’re around the same size. A magnet attracts things that have metal in them, but only certain kinds of metal — not all kinds. Our magnet attracts this paper clip, but not this coin, even though they’re both made of metal.

One type of metal that is attracted to magnets is called iron. People use iron to make lots of different things, like fences and gates; some kinds of pots and pans; and lots of tools, like nails and screws. And when a magnet sticks to a fridge, that’s because there’s iron inside the door, even though you can’t see it!

People use metals like iron to make something else, too: iron is one of a group of special metals that people can make into magnets. Iron can do both — it can be a magnet, and it can be attracted to a magnet! If you’re curious about what other kinds of things are attracted to magnets, you can ask a grownup to help you experiment!

If you have a magnet, you can hold it up to different kinds of things, and see if you can guess what the magnet will attract! Thanks for joining us! If you want to keep learning and having fun with Squeaks and me, hit the subscribe button, and we’ll see you next time here at the Fort!