Yesterday, we taught our first homeschool science class, and we plan to run many more. I named the series of classes “Science By Immersion” because I want the kids to get involved in science and experience it. I don’t want to stand in front of them and demonstrate science for them. I want to give them just enough instruction that they can do it. I love science books and videos, but you learn so much more when you get to be a part of it.
Yesterday’s topic was electromagnets. I wanted to start with this topic because, well, electromagnets are awesome.
We had 20 children ranging from 4 years old to 12 years old. Each of them made an electromagnet, experimented with it, and got to take it home.
The class started with an explanation of how electromagnets work and the basic steps of how to build one. As the kids finished the build, they started playing (I mean started experiencing science with a hands on approach). They picked up paperclips and moved them around. Most of the kids also had mini tug-o-war battles where two electromagnets would pull on the same paperclip.
After they got the basics, they moved around to stations where the children of Team Hogan explained an activity or experiment that the kids could try. One of the most popular activities was the Weigh Station, where the kids tried to lift a large bolt that was on a scale. The bolt was too heavy for our simple electromagnets to pick up, but you could read the weight before you lifted and as you lifted. Then with a little subtraction (Elijah did the subtraction for the younger kids) you knew how much force your electromagnet could exert.
One of the girls in the class tried to lift the bolt and wanted a better result. So she disassembled her electromagnet and started over. This time she was very careful as she wrapped the wire. When she was done, she returned to the weigh station and lifted the bolt complete off of the scale.
There were many moments where kids were having trouble, but after a word of advice or encouragement, they all had success and smiles. Some of the children were so excited that when it was time to leave, they asked if they could take paperclips with them so they could keep playing in the car.
Overall, I think it was a great success. Kids learned through my instruction and through their own experimenting. Most of the kids had never gotten to use an electromagnet, so it was a new experience for them.
I look forward to having more students attend Science By Immersion for this topic and many new ones.
For those who attended the class, here is the Electromagnets Worksheet Answers.
A special thanks to the parents who shared their pictures with us. (We took pictures, but something was wrong with our camera and none of the pictures turned out.)