Chaperone Guide

Forces and Interactions: Magnetism (Grade 3)

This guide will help you introduce your group of students to three exhibits about magnetism. We’ve provided some questions you can ask to focus their explorations. Have fun and enjoy the exhibits!

Visiting the exhibits

You can take your group to the magnetism exhibits at any time during the field trip. Visit the exhibits in the order given. (If there’s a crowd at an exhibit, let your group do something else first.) If you need help finding an exhibit, just ask an Explainer.

Setting the stage

Tell students that at each exhibit they should do these three things:

Magnetic Tightrope

Use the questions below to help students explore how different metals behave near a magnet.

Try it out!

What did you try? What did you notice?

What’s similar and different about the objects in the exhibit?

Ready for a challenge?

Can you find a way to get an object that’s attracted to the magnets to pass between them without getting stuck?

Let’s talk about it.

Ask the students to start by discussing the questions with a partner and then discuss as a group. Tell them, don’t worry, this is not about getting the “right answer,” it’s about sharing ideas!

Which objects stuck to the magnets and which ones didn’t? What do you think made the difference? Did you notice what the different objects are made of?

Was there anything about this exhibit that surprised you?

Magnetic Clouds

Use the questions below to help students explore the effects of magnets on iron particles in this oil-filled tube.

Try it out!

What did you try? What did you notice?

Ready for a challenge?

Use a magnet to pull tiny bits of iron up to the top of the tube and then let them go. Can you catch some of them as they fall?

How far away from the tube can you hold the magnet and still attract the iron?

Let’s talk about it.

If the little bits were made of brass, would this exhibit still work? What if they were plastic? Why do you think so?

Black Sand

Use the questions below to help students explore how the magnet affects the black sand.

Try it out!

What did you try? What did you notice?

Ready for a challenge?

Where does the force from the magnet seem strongest? Can you find where the force stops attracting the sand?

Let’s talk about it.

Ask the students to start by discussing the questions with a partner and then discuss as a group.

Why is the black sand attracted to the magnet—what do you think the sand might be made of? Do you think all types of sand would be attracted to a magnet? What could you do to find out?