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Brio trains have magnets at the ends.

Brio trains have magnets at the ends for your magnet project

Brio trains and magnetism

To see how magnets push and pull each other, get out your wooden Brio trains. One end of each car has a positive magnet and the other end has a negative magnet.

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And electromagnets
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If you try to match up two positive magnets or two negative magnets, they will push each other apart, but if you match a positive and a negative, they’ll pull together, letting the engine pull the freight cars.

a hammer and a bent nail in some wood

Hammers and nails are made of iron

Magnets only stick to iron

Magnets will only pull on things that have iron in them, because only iron atoms will line up to become temporary magnets, attracted to other magnets. You probably already know that magnets won’t stick to wood or plastic. But will they stick to other kinds of metal?

What is iron?
History of iron and steel

Take a magnet (your Brio train will work) and go around the house seeing which things have iron in them. If you try things made of copper or zinc or aluminum, you’ll see that they are not magnetic even though they are made of metal.

Did this magnet project help you understand magnets? Let us know in the comments!

saucepan with a copper bottom

Copper-bottomed cooking pot

A compass project with magnets
A project with electromagnets
More about Magnets
The invention of the compass
More about electricity

Bibliography and further reading about magnets and electricity:

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