This magnetic paperclip trees STEM challenge lets your kids experiment with magnets, polarity, design, physics, and more! It works wonderfully for preschoolers and older kids! We imagined we were making a Christmas Tree Village, but you can do this any time of the year and just make a forest!
To prepare a "table" to work on, I poked holes in a box and stuck wooden dowels and pencils in the holes. Alternatively, you could stick a pencil in a base made from playdough.
* prepared box (see above) with pencils or wooden dowls
* "donut" magnets (magnets with a hole in them...see the affiliate link below)
* nuts, bolts, washers, paperclips, bells, and any other metal items you want to provide. I raided my nuts and bolts sensory bin and added jingle bells and paperclips
Explain that the challenge for the day is to use these supplies to build a forest, and let them get to work!
I loved this moment: the first thing that happened was my son started stacking up the magnets. The first two he put on repelled each other so that the second one "floated." He was blown away! "It's floating!!" he started to cry out! The next one he put on snapped tightly. He pulled the two magnets off the tree and flipped them around so they all floated. You can see him here with four floating magnets...he filled up the entire dowel with "floaters."
Here are a few more process and final pictures:
STEM Concepts in this Project:
Science: problem solving, science process skills, experimenting
Technology: magnet interaction
(I'm actually using this as a magnet review for my kids because we are going to talk about and make some electromagnets soon.)
Engineering: balance, design
Math: size (larger, smaller), balance
The kids had such a great time with this project that we will be repeating it soon. I think I'm going to get some colored bells and colored paperclips for next time too!
I would love to know if you make some magnetic trees! Feel free to send me a note or leave a comment!
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Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you'll stick around or a minute and check out these fun STEM, science, and preschool posts too:
I may share at any of these parties!
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