Tuesday 10 March 2015

"Magnetism, as you recall from physics class, is a powerful force that causes certain items to be attracted to refrigerators."

Being able to stay home and teach Opeie is a dream come true, I craved this for so long but I used to get a little anxious at the thought of it. would I be any good?, what if I end up holding him back? and how will i know what and when to teach him? It turns out though that if you have a curious child who is always asking questions then it makes things pretty easy.

We recently watched the Postman pat movie, firstly if you are a parent that hasn't been subjected to it yet then do everything you can to steer clear, it is an utter load of tripe! But... it did give us the starting block for a fun lesson in magnetism. At the end of the film one of the characters lifts up a wrapped package and points it at a robot. us older folk would understand what it was as it was a horseshoe shaped package. Opeie was confused though and wondered how the robot knew it was a magnet and was being pulled apart by it. Cue a morning of activities all based around what manets are attracted too and how they work. 

Opeie being the clever boy that he is jumped straight in with his scientific hypothesis 'magnets stick to shiny things!'

To start with we needed a collection of items so we could determine what sorts of things actually were attracted, so we searched all the messy draws (we've all got them) and looked through the 'bits and bobs' boxes in the boys room until we had a fun selection.

We take our science very seriously at the Gifts from the Pirates HQ and made sure we documented our findings clearly. I asked Opeie to smile if he thought the item would be attracted to the magnet and pull a sad face if it wasn't going to. What do you know, Opeie was right, Golf balls aren't magnetic.

It was interesting going through all of the items and seeing that Opeie knew exactly what he was talking about. He laughed at the plastic and rubber items knowing full well that they were not going to stick to anything. When he saw something shiny coming though the excitement started...

(i used to stick my tongue out like that when i was concentrating too!)

 Our excited little scientist ploughed through all the items in no time, he was correct with most of his choices but was confused by the plastic cat ball which stuck to the magnet straight away. It seemed like everything he believed was being tested, why was this happening? After a long deliberation and a full examination of the item in question, Opeie came to the very intelligent conclusion that the magnet was in fact attracted to the small steel bell inside.

Feeling confident Opeie went off looking for places to stick his magnet but was feeling deflated when his hypothesis was shattered. While trying to connect the magnet with the carpet bars joining the flooring to the kitchen. Much to his disappointment, Not all shiny things are magnetic! Its important to be wrong at times, it keeps you grounded. I'm not sure how much that applies to a three year old though.

After we had completed our collection of items it was time for a couple of fun games. I fetched a jar of water from the kitchen and asked Opeie if he could get out a small steel marble i had dropped inside. Of course his first instinct was to dunk his hand in. I explained that he couldn't get his hand wet and he looked really confused. I slyly nudged the the magnet with my elbow and he soon got the hint...

I tried the next game using the ball and magnet through the table but we were using a children's science magnet, which wasn't very strong so i fetched one of the boys canvas' from the wall in their room. Opeie sat underneath and controlled the steel marble from below which he thought was loads of fun. After we had finished i placed a a spanner up top and attached the magnet below "wow that's cool" said and excited little scientist.

Well i may not have enjoyed the film (seriously its bloody awful) but something good came out of Postman Pat and his x-factor style singing robots, hell bent on world postal domination. Maybe if we watch some Fireman Sam we can have an activity based on the theory of relativity.

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