Tuesday, December 8, 2009

When magnets are funny...

We recently started a magnet unit here and it has proven to be quite fun. And funny.

Funny? How can magnets be funny, you ask?

Funny #1: I tripped across the above book from my collection about a week ago. It seemed like it might be an interesting thing to do with the boys during December. (Keeping them busy, trying to ward off the christmas flu.) Hmmm…Magnets…electricity…sounds perfect! But where in the world will I find a bar magnet to do the experiments? I know what a bar magnet is, but what does one cost? Is it hard to find? Is that something they sell at Walmart? If so, what section do I go to? Would I be better off at Menards or Home Depot? How will this fit into my simple farmish life of really trying hard not to go to the store unless we are absolutely in dire need of something?

“Gosh,” I said to Hubster one evening, and explained my whole dilemma. “Do you know where I could find a bar magnet?”

“Gosh,” he said. “ Maybe in the magnetic-electric-science kit we have on top of the entertainment center?”

Yep, seriously. You’d think I don’t stare at that shelf everyday.

Funny #2: After experiencing the embarrassment and later joy of finding a bar magnet, it turned out the bar magnet was totally lame. El cheapo. In fact, so non-functioning that most of our experiments with it went totally wacky or flat out failed. (How can you screw up a magnet?) So after all that we ended up dragging out our canister of Magnetix to do our experiments – which are surprisingly powerful for being so small. Yep, turn to the magnetic toys instead of the actual magnetic scientific kit.

Funny #3: While doing a little ditty with north and south pole ends of a magnet, we let our minds wander. A lot.

See, our book suggested we strap a bar magnet (or Magnetix, in our case) on top of two different Matchbox cars and see if we could get the cars to pull or push each other on the floor. So we did that.

And after we’d exhausted our fun with that, we brought out the next obvious toy choice: Star Wars Lego Men.

Yep. Call it lack of caffeine or not enough sleep or just going with the flow, but we went all out in Star Wars Lego Men Magnet world.

We wanted the Lego Men to be pushed around by the magnets, and quickly figured out we had to have a magnet on both their stomach and their back, otherwise the Lego Men just tipped over. Too much Space Juice, or something.

Then we figured out this really important guy needed really big magnet guns. So we built them.

We staged awesome battles, most of which weren’t easily caught by camera. The boys thought it was hilarious how they could either get the Lego Men to push each other around, stick to each other, or (if we got really fancy with how we attached the magnets) we could get them to kinda whip each other from one side to the other.

Now that's some funny magnet stuff.

In case you’re wondering, at the end of the battle, the Star Wars Lego Men ended up getting sucked into the Magnetix Cave.

One managed to escape, but the other was pinned under falling…magnets.
“Save yourself!” he said. “ Go…save yourself…”

My kids really got into it. They were very dramatic. And funny. And I’m pretty sure they will never forget north and south poles of magnets. :)


Stephanie said...

Very fun!

And, yes, you can get bar magnets at Home Depot. You can also get them at Michael's.They're about $3 for two that are an inch wide x 2 inches long. Just pick some up next time you're there. :)

We love scooting them around on the floor,sending them flying. (opposite poles). We also like to put one under the table, and things on top of the table, and drive the things around with the one under the table. They like to play with iron filings, too, which looks like fur on the magnets. (I love that one.)

We actually have an experiment that I read about (in Janice's book - are you playing?) that shows radiation and how the sun has opposite poles, too -- which I had no idea of until the day before yesterday. Looking forward to that one!

Magnets are great fun. At least I think so!

Sadie said...

Looks like fun! We had loads of magnets around here....various finds, electric kits, magnetix etc.....We often send cad flying down the driveway with magnets on top....

Anonymous said...

I've thought magnets were funny ever since I had one of those funny faces where you had to move the metal shavings around the face with a magnet to create different effects (did everyone have one of those, or was it just me???)...anyway, my cousin and I would always crack ourselves up by making the poor guy look like Hitler. I have no idea why it was so freakin funny now, but it just was!! :0)

MamaTea said...

Topsy, i so had one of those guys. I know exactly what you're talking about. The more I think about it...maybe magnets have always been funny :)