Magnets might not be a subject you would think would be covered in The Handbook of Nature Study, but it does. I love using this book because it is not like a textbook or a unit study in which the teacher lectures, but gives questions for investigation. I will share some of them with you, which I have modified slightly to fit what things I had around the house now, but there are more wonderful questions to find in the book. Remember though that the book should not "be read to the pupils. It is given as assistance to the teacher, and is not meant for direct information to the pupils. If the teacher knows a fact in nature's realm, she is then in a position to lead her pupils to discover the facts for themselves. Make the lesson an investigation and make the pupils feel that they are investigators. To tell (the lesson) to begin with inevitably spoils the attitude and quenches interest." -Handbook of Nature Study, page 23.
Of what substance are the objects which the magnet can pick up?
How far away from a needle must one end of the magnet be before the needle leaps toward it? Does it make any difference in this respect, if the magnet approaches the needle toward the point or along its length?
How many paperclips will the magnet hold?
Bring the ends of two bar magnets together; do they hold fast to each other? Change ends with one; now do the two magnets cling more or less closely than before? Does this show that the forces in the two ends of a magnet are different in character?
Magnetize a paperclip... Does the paperclip thus treated pick up metal objects? Why?
Does a magnet pick up as many iron filings at its middle or at its ends? What does this show? Place iron filings on stiff paper. Pass a magnet underneath; what forms do the filings assume? Do they make a picture of the direction of the lines of force which come from the magnet?
(Some of these discoveries are also outlined in Real Science 4 Kids, Physics, Pre-Level I, Experiment 8: Magnet Poles)