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Magnetic Train Science

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DIY STEM kit and science activity puts kids on track for creative summer science learning.

Magic Bullet Train Science Kit and Maglev train experiment -- paint the train for a custom, creative experience!
Above: part of the fun with the Magic Bullet Train science kit is decorating the train. Kids can paint the wooden train however they like, and even paint it again! Stickers, googly eyes, permanent markers—a magic train deserves special attention from the creative kid department!

Engineers of all ages love a great wooden train! With the Magic Bullet Train Kit, young engineers get hands-on with the science of magnetism. The Magic Bullet Train Kit from the Science Buddies Store is a fun way to give kids a science learning experience that also doubles as a craft activity and even a playtime toy. This is a perfect activity for summer break!

Creative Engineering

The kit comes with a block of unfinished wood that kids make into their own unique, customized train for the project. How they sand, shape, and paint or decorate their train is completely up to them and their own imagination! Stars? Stripes? Favorite colors or lucky numbers? The Hogwarts Express? Creating and customizing the wooden Magic Bullet Train is a wonderful, free-form, and creative part of this science activity. (Note: sanding and shaping the train takes sand paper and some elbow grease. Students can spend as much or as little time as they want decorating the train before moving on to constructing the track and testing the science behind the levitation and movement of a maglev train.)

The Magic of Maglev

Maglev trains are fascinating because they seem to defy logic—they levitate! A maglev train appears to float or hover above a track rather than roll across it. These trains look similar to monorail trains, but a maglev train specifically levitates and is powered by electromagnetic forces. Plus, a maglev train doesn't have wheels!

It may look like magic, but a maglev train's levitation can be explained by science. A maglev train is lifted by the way magnetic fields can be positioned to repel one another. As the fields push away from each other, the train lifts off of the track and floats above the rail. Because it floats, when the train moves, there is no friction created by train wheels rolling over train tracks, so a maglev train glides and can move faster than a traditional train that rolls on wheels.

After making the train and assembling the railway, students can experiment to find out what might slow a maglev down. The The Amazing Floating Train: How Much Weight Can A Maglev Train Hold? project guides kids in an experiment to see how increasing amounts of weight being carried by the train affects a maglev train's ability to hover.

Learn more about the Magic Bullet Train Kit and put science learning on track for the summer!

See also: Magic Train Puts Kids on Track with Physics of Magnetism and From Wooden Train to the Magic of Maglev.

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