Everybody knows magnets are FUN, but did you know scientists use magnets when making certain kinds of polymers? Did you know that magnets can help chemists to sort out the tangled mess of molecules that most polymers consist of?
Today’s Curiosity Machine class focused on Making a Self-Assembling Structure using magnets, but the class wasn’t just about magnets. One kind of self-assembling structure is a polymer, a long chain of repeating molecules that bind to create one super-strong molecule. We learned about polymers and a bit about atomic structure, then we turned our attention to magnets and to making our own structures that would link together using magnetic force.
First, watch this video to get the highlights of our class:
Here are my slides with recommended books for further reading:
We had the table set up with dice of all kinds, pencils, paper, tape dispensers, and magnets:
Before starting, many kids drew out a map for their design, so that their magnets would link together properly using the property of magnetism that opposite poles attract:
Here is one finished structure:
Check out the books from the slideshow for more information about, and cool experiments with, magnets and polymers!