Playing with Science – Physics, Electricity and Magnetism
Falling (with style)
Children will begin experimenting with physics in their everyday lives by throwing, dropping, pushing and pulling various toys.
As they get older, children will learn about physics in greater depth – for example, learning that when they drop an expensive ornament/iPad, it is pulled towards the ground by gravity. To avoid breaking all of your possessions in an effort to demonstrate forces, you could instead try the Physics Discovery science kit by Thames and Kosmos – this is a great way to help your child learn about physics, as they construct models that demonstrate different forces.
There is also a brilliant app called Monster Physics, where children build their own inventions in order to complete missions. These vary in difficulty, and require children to use their scientific knowledge of forces and motion to succeed – for example, using ice to reduce friction so they can move a vehicle.
In Key Stage 1 children will be learning about circuits, and using components (such as bulbs and buzzers), wires, and switches to build simple series circuits. They should also be made aware of how to work safely with electricity. There is a great Electricity and Magnetism set by Thames and Kosmos which has simple blocks that children can connect together to create circuits. The blocks also have the symbols for the different components, so children can become familiar with how to draw circuit diagrams.
The Piiig Labs app lets children build their own circuits too, as well as taking part in lots of other science experiments. Children can play with the circuit they have created, and are shown how electricity works with lovely simple graphics.
Children will learn that, unlike most forces, magnets can affect other objects without direct contact, as well as the different strengths of magnets, and the effect of the magnetic north and south poles on one another. Allow your child to experiment with magnets – you could try giving them a range of magnetic and non-magnetic materials to try and pick up with a magnet, so they can learn that magnets do not act on all objects.
The Magnet Science kit by 4M includes a great range of magnets to play with, and suggests lots of fun experiments too. Children can also make magnetic fields visible using iron filings – these are included in the Thames and Kosmos Magnetic Science set, as well as a range of other experiments and games.
This post was written by Anna Taylor