From Magnet Basics to Maglev!

    From Magnet Basics to Maglev!
    Posted on 02/08/2024

    Recently our 2nd grade students were introduced to the basics of magnets. A special guest, Bolton Central School retired science teacher Mr. John Gaddy, shared his magnet science knowledge and provided students with a few hands-on experiments. Students learned that magnets have two poles, north and south and that our planet has magnetic poles too. Our young scientists enjoyed watching that like magnetic poles repel and opposites attract and that magnets have the energy to push and pull. Being able to participate in science was loads of fun.

    Down the hall in our Technology Lab, our 8th grade students were also working with magnets. They worked with the basic magnet principles our 2nd graders were learning and taking their problem-solving skills to the next level. They were using the polarity of magnets to actually levitate model trains. The assignment is to create a maglev train, also known as a magnetic levitation train. The goal is to make a train that will travel the 20-foot track as fast as possible. Not only should they levitate, they will also be driven by an electric motor with a propeller attached. The long-standing school record to beat was created years ago with a time of 1.4 seconds to go 20 feet! This open-ended problem-solving project comes with some set constraints like the size of the train and the type of motor and propeller. Students learn to apply knowledge of electricity, materials science and magnetism through trial and error to make improvements. The culmination of this lesson is to see who in the class has the fastest train and if anyone can beat 1.4 seconds!

    Take a look at a video clip of an early stage run of a train with just the magnets.

    Lessons like these can foster an excitement about lifelong learning. Thanks to these positive experiences, we hope to increase the confidence of our students to experiment and hone their problem-solving skills.

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