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Exploring Magnetic Forces with Francis Wyman Kindergarteners May 11, 2017

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Mr. Musselman opens with a “magic”… oops, he meant magnetic ladybug!

Scientific thinking and investigation is a big part of Mr. Musselman’s magnet program for Burlington Kindergarteners. Yesterday it was Francis Wyman’s turn as Mr. Musselman performed three programs to six kindergarten classrooms. During the program students are frequently asked to observe the magnets revealed through the program with their “science observing glasses”, keeping a watchful eye for patterns in the magnets’ properties (such as their poles) and the way in which magnets behaved when close to one another!


These bar magnets poles are attracted to one another!


Unbelievable! The magnetic poles of the same kind repel!

Students put on their “prediction hats” to make educated guesses about which materials would attract to the magnets. Many guessed that all the metals would… but to our surprise only some did!

prediction hats

Prediction hats ON! Which materials in our “pond” will attract to the magnetic fishing pole?

Students also learned the difference between permanent magnets and Mr. Musselman’s incredibly strong but temporary electromagnet! The students were in uproar when four students were unable to out pull the electromagnet in Mr. Musselman’s version of tug-of-war!


Its an electromagnet tug-of-war! Who will win? The kindergarteners or the electromagnet keeping the rope connected?

A special thanks to Mrs. Duncan for sharing these pictures of her and Mrs. Marsh’s classroom. The Science Center is looking forward to developing an updated “Push and Pull” forces unit for Kindergarteners next year. The magnet program is sure to be an exciting part of this new curriculum.

Using Models to Investigate Forces & Motion September 27, 2016

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Students at Memorial using force and motion simulations! #bpschat

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In anticipation of Rocket Day 2016, fourth graders all over Burlington have been exploring forces and their effect on an objects motion. In a new twist on a tried and true “Tug-of-War” lesson, Mr. Musselman introduced PhET models to classrooms at the Francis Wyman and Memorial schools. Using their iPads, students were able to access the free models and explore the cause and effect relationship between the forces being applied by the tug-of-war participants and the effect on the large cart of candy in the middle. Check out these student pictures and videos to see how students constructed their own understanding of forces and motion through this very cool simulation!

Constructing explanations for how different forces effect the cart's motion. #bpschat #ngsschat

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May the FORCE be with you! January 7, 2014

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This year the Science Center took the Burlington elementary students on an out-of-this-world investigation of the forces that surround us!

Gravity, Newton’s laws of motion, friction, and electromagnetism were all on display as students offered predictions, shared explanations, and volunteered to be a part of the many demonstrations Miss Pavlicek and Mr. Musselman shared through the hour long show.

Students predicted whether balls of different weight would fall at the same or different speeds, replicating the legendary experiment by Galileo on the Tower of Pisa. Students were amazed by the strength of the force of friction between the pages of two phone books that could not be pulled apart. They laughed at the “Loco” Motion Swing as it rolled in the opposite direction of the swinging volunteer, demonstrating Newton’s Third Law of Motion ! But what really stood out to students was the amazing force behind the pencil cannon during the grand finale!

Our hearts were warmed by the wonderful thank you letters written and illustrated by Mrs. Coates class. It’s clear they enjoyed watching the show as much as Miss P. and Mr. Musselman enjoyed performing it!

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Thanks to teachers Kim Cook, Carrie Casey, Kelly Floyd, Patrick Murphy and Stephanie Smith for taking these great photos and film of our show. Keep an eye out for the show in its entirety on BCATV later this month!