Healey 2019

Artist: Fiona Goodwin | Cummins Engineer: Luke Dugdale 

Class Group: Year 3 |  Subject: Forces & Magnets

Session 1 – February 2019

Full of enthusiasm we begin our project featuring magnets with superpowers! 

Our first experiment – one of prediction – can we identify magnetic objects, by knowledge and touch alone? We carefully assess each one in turn, recording our findings, it’s a long list! Keen to check our answers with magnets this time, we welcome the expertise of Luke our Cummins buddy…we celebrate, our results were pretty accurate.

Experiment two – magnet strength – can we use a succession of suspended paperclips from a magnet source to test this? Yes we can…it exceeds the hundred mark and requires the tallest spot in the classroom. We learn how to block the magnetic force too, how amazing! 

 “I liked making big paper clip chain and we run out of paper clips. The magnet was so strong.” – Pupil

 “I enjoyed testing the materials. I nearly got them all right.” – Pupil


Session 2 – February 2019

We’re keen to learn more about magnetic forces and their ability to attract and repel by combining both compass and magnet types in a further experiments. That way we can chart and measure the distance and direction of influence on the dial. Having fun, we learn that having so many magnets in the room can affect the result and that the bar magnets are weaker than the mini superpower ones…we’re magnetised!  

Now for some creative experimentation and a deeper understanding of attraction and repulsion as we finally get to use them.

“The tiny magnets had super strength, it was hard to pull them apart.”  – Pupil

“I used the table to store my magnets and keep them safe. When I put my magnets in the bag they attracted to my friends.”  – Pupil

I thought that the day gave the children a chance to participate in a range of activities that are not usually available to them – linking and exploring art and science in a physical innovative experience.” – Classroom Teacher


Session 3 – March 2019

Who would have thought that cows are fed magnets? We’re astonished as Luke explains why this happens, along with many other facts about magnets and forces too in his Cummins presentation, it’s fascinating.

Next up is a quick refresher on North and South poles, discussing again the powers of magnetic attraction and repulsion and we’re keen to get started on our collaborative piece. It’s a big task, our piece contains seven words, forty-four letters, with each mini magnet tower needing to be constructed individually, as it will nestle alongside many others. We have to work carefully and precisely, considering each letter form individually, ensuring that it works alongside the other letters in the group. It’s time consuming, but we finish on time and we’re thrilled!

‘I enjoyed this Change Project. I didn’t know that cows eat magnets.’

‘I never knew magnets can help find a crack in an engine’

‘We made straws magnetic, it was awesome. We even made a letter with them on a magnetic board. Thank you I loved today it was the best!’

‘This morning was amazing. I never knew science and art was so interesting. Thanks to Fiona and Luke and thanks to Mike, they are wonderful people and they taught me never to give up. I hope they had a nice time because I did’


Session 4 – March 2019










Our final ATTRACTIVE ATTRACTION & REPULSIVE REPULSION session sadly, but still so much to discover as we revisit our group of magnetic and non-magnetic objects. Selecting one for inspiration from our first week of experiments, we look at it more closely and observe its characteristics. What does the shape suggest? What can we transform it into? Our approach now is to create a piece of art, a feat of engineering as the magnets support, strengthen and help us transform our humble objects and materials into an intriguing collection of pieces.  We make some interesting choices and discoveries and have lots of fun doing it!

‘It was amazing and I loved making a masterpiece, mine was an awesome park. I created it all by myself. The magnets were tiny.’

‘I made a jungle ride, it was great. It was fun science.’ 

 ‘I created a sheep, don’t worry it wasn’t real. It looked just like a sheep made from wool and magnets.’  

‘I think it was interesting that you can make non-magnetic things magnetic. I made grass and it was artistic.’