From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
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Magnet Rods, originally known as Rotating Magnet Sticks, are objects that first appear in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis. The main function of Magnet Rods are to change the path a Mini character by flipping the object when they are walking on a magnetic surface. The player can do this simply by tapping the stylus on one of the two handles on the sides. Enemies such as Magnet Sparkies can also be flipped using these objects. They are first seen in Magnet Mania and later appear in Spooky Attic. They appear with orange and blue stripped sides and a light green middle section.
Magnet Rods return in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!, where they are seen in this game's version of Magnet Mania, the Rooftop, and the Basement. Here, they appear mostly light green with a few blue stripes, including the sides. They function the same way as before.
Magnet Rods return once again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, first appearing in Cosmic Adventure and later appearing in a couple levels of Rainbow Summit. In this game, they appear mostly grey with a light blue outline in the middle and have red and grey stripped sides. Once again, they function the same way as before.