Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

Snow globes are amazing—you turn it upside down, and beautiful snow falls to the ground. Can you recreate this effect using iron filings? Let’s find out!

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:
  • Coarse, medium, and fine iron filings
  • Plastic snow globe or a clear (thin) plastic container with a secure lid
  • Magnet (alnico or neodymium)
  • Pencil and paper
  1. Place a handful of fine iron filings in the snow globe. Close its lid.

fine iron filings snow globe









  1. Move the magnet around the outside of the snow globe. What happens?

fine filings and magnet globe









  1. Place the magnet on the top of the globe. Leaving the magnet in place, turn the globe upside down. How did the filings react?
  1. With the magnet in place, turn the globe upright again. Remove the magnet from the top of the globe. What happens?
  1. Repeat steps 2-5 using coarse and medium iron filings. Compare your results.

iron filings snow globe









  1. Put a little of each type of filing in the globe at the same time. What happens as the filings compete for the magnet’s “attention”? Does the magnet attract all the filings or just one type? Record your findings.

Now what?

Shake the iron filings out of your snow globe and onto a sheet of paper. Fold the paper and use it as a funnel to pour them back into a jar to reuse for another activity like Magnets, Math, & Measurement, Oh My!, Mix It Up!, The Art of Science and All Shook Up!

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