MagLab: Alpha launches students on a series of expeditions and explorations in search of greater understanding of magnets and magnetism. As students complete each expedition, they are encouraged to take advantage of suggested excursions that link magnets and magnetism to mathematics, literature, language arts, geography, history, world cultures, art, and music.18 magnetic wands
18 bar magnets
5 containers iron filings
20 D cell rechargeable batteries
18 battery holders
18 aluminum rods
1 box paper clips
40 magnetic marbles
9 grease pencils
1 tube epoxy
18 ring magnets
250 square magnets
36 pieces (200cm) insulated wire
1 battery recharger
18 iron rods
18 wooden dowels
54 wooden rectangles
10 rolls masking tape
9 plastic picture frames
1 cow magnet
9 pieces of plastic (to seal frames)
The Alpha guidebook consists of 20 similarly formatted expeditions and 5 explorations. The Alpha interface, CD-ROM, introduces a team of characters that guide and orient students in their quest for information to support the expeditions, explorations, and excursions. Includes enough materials for 8 students.
MagLab: Alpha is an all-inclusive resource package with which to study magnetism. Each part of MagLab: Alpha is explained with ideas and suggestions as to how it can best be used. Of course, each classroom teacher is the best judge of how materials such as these can be used with individual classes and students. Expeditions, Explorations, and the Excursions that accompany them are designed to be adaptable to individual schools and classrooms, as well as the constraints under which the typical classroom teacher operates: class size, space, equipment, supplies, and time. In spite of the fact that we have tried to include everything, there is no alternative for knowing one's students, nor is there a substitute for the teacher's imagination
As you find new and better ways to use these resources, drop by the discussion room on our web site and share your findings. Collegial conversations, for which teachers have little time, are a great way to clarify ideas about teaching and learning in general and specifically in the science classroom. The materials contained in your Alpha Pack, Alpha Guidebook and Alpha Interface were developed by middle school teachers with help from research scientists at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (NAS Lab) in Tallahassee, Florida, for use in their own classrooms. Being immersed in the research experience in a national laboratory provides a different perspective on science education. Obviously, science in the real world is considerably different than science in the classroom, however, MagLab: Alpha is one attempt to reconcile the two worlds.
With more and more talk about educating citizens of the twenty-first century, teachers are called upon to use techniques such as cooperative learning, interdisciplinary activities, integrated learning, reflective writing, and use of prior knowledge to enhance new concepts. State and national standards imply accountability on the part of the classroom teacher. These Expeditions and Explorations are cross-referenced with the standards to help you articulate, in your plan book, how and why you are using these activities.
Gear: All items in the Alpha Pack are non-consumable (with the exception of the masking tape and epoxy) so there should be little refurbishing of materials. The pack contains all the gear necessary for a class of 36 students divided into groups of 4 students. Expeditions are flexible, however, and there is enough material to support this flexibility. Some Expeditions, Explorations, and Excursions require supplies other than those provided in the Alpha Pack; for example, crayons, markers, poster board, shoe boxes, etc. These are delineated clearly at the start of each Expedition and are listed under "Suggested Additional Gear."