All Shook Up!

Put on your creative hat to explore this mini magnet shaker! Observe what happens when oil interacts with magnets and iron filings!

But first, a quick safety warning! The Iron Filings 3-Pack is safety tested for ages 6+, but adult supervision is required. Do not inhale or consume iron filings. Keep iron filings away from eyes. Magnets are not included in this set, but make sure the magnets you use to interact with the iron filings are age-appropriate. Keep all small, powerful magnets away from children under age 8.

Okay, now…

1.  Gather the following materials:

materials needed

  • Coarse, medium, and fine iron filings*
  • Small plastic test tube with stopper
  • Cow magnet or bar magnet
  • Plastic bottle with cap
  • Mineral oil*
  • Paper towels


2. Put your magnet into the plastic test tube. Close the tube with its stopper.

3. Fill the plastic bottle ¾ of the way with mineral oil. Put a small handful of medium iron filings into the bottle.

4.  Insert the magnet test tube (with its stopper in place) into the bottle. Tightly close the bottle’s cap.

magnet in jar with oil and filings









5.  Shake the bottle. Watch as the filings attract to the test tube and create interesting patterns! Let the bottle contents come to a rest. Shake the bottle again to experiment with different patterns.

filings displayed in oil












6.  Repeat this experiment using the coarse and fine iron filings. Compare your results.

*Discard the iron filings that were in the mineral oil (discard the oil, too) after this experiment.

Now what?

Put the rest of your Iron Filings to use with our other free downloadable activities, including The Art of Science, Magnets, Math & Measurement… Oh My, Mix It Up!, and Let It Snow, on our blog!

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