Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What makes something magnetic?

We already knew that lots of metal things are magnetic but some metal things are not magnetic.

We designed a fair test to find out "What is in the metal that makes things magnetic?"

We had two container lids of sand.  The black sand was from Kawhia and the other sand is river sand from our school sandpit.

The containers were the same size even though they don't look it in this picture.

Mrs Chrystall covered the sand with a paper towel but she wouldn't tell us why.  (At the end she showed us how the sand stuck to the magnet and was really hard to get off.)
When we used the circular magnet on the river sand it only picked up a little sand.  We noticed that it was the black bits.

The circular magnet picked up a lot more of the Kawhia sand.  We also noticed that the Kawhia sand was still a little wet.
We did the test (experiment) again using a bar magnet instead of a circular magnet.
The bar magnet only picked up a little of the river sand.  All the pieces were black.
The bar magnet picked up a lot more of the black sand from Kawhia.
We also noticed that the end of the bar magnet picked up a lot more sand than the middle of the magnet.
It was easy to see that the black sand was magnetic. 

Mrs Chrystall told us that the black sand has a thing called iron in it and it is the iron in the metal that makes things magnetic.

We now know that it is "iron" that makes things magnetic.


  1. Hello Room 1, I am so excited to come across your blog. I love to see junior classes blogging.
    I enjoyed reading about your fair test. I wondered about your question but then I realised that you were finding out what was in the sand that made it magnetic. I wonder, are all metals magnetic, or is it just iron? I think I've found that stainless steel doesn't get picked up by a magnet.
    Great work, everyone. Ms Donnell

  2. I have just been introduced to your blog Room 1. My Y1 class here in Nelson loves to blog about their learning as well. Keep up the good work.
    Mrs Eden and Room 13 richmond Primary school Nelson.