ALEX Learning Activity

  

Building a Better Electromagnet

A Learning Activity is a strategy a teacher chooses to actively engage students in learning a concept or skill using a digital tool/resource.

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Holly Evans
System:Jefferson County
School:Rudd Middle School
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 2223
Title:
Building a Better Electromagnet
Digital Tool/Resource:
How an Electromagnet Works
Web Address – URL:
Overview:

In this activity, students will construct their own electromagnet from a battery, wire, and a nail.

This resource is a result of the ALEX Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Science
SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 8
Physical Science
11 ) Plan and carry out investigations to evaluate how various factors (e.g., electric force produced between two charged objects at various positions; magnetic force produced by an electromagnet with varying number of wire turns, varying number or size of dry cells, and varying size of iron core) affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.


NAEP Framework
NAEP Statement::
P12.10: Electromagnetic waves are produced by changing the motion of charges or by changing magnetic fields. The energy of electromagnetic waves is transferred to matter in packets. The energy content of the packets is directly proportional to the frequency of the electromagnetic waves.

NAEP Statement::
P12.23: Electric force is a universal force that exists between any two charged objects. Opposite charges attract while like charges repel. The strength of the electric force is proportional to the magnitudes of the charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Between any two charged particles, the electric force is vastly greater than the gravitational force.


Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Planning and Carrying out Investigations
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
Students:
  • Plan investigations that evaluate how various factors affect the strength of electric forces.
  • Carry out investigations that evaluate how various factors affect the strength of electric forces.
  • Plan investigations that evaluate how various factors affect the strength of magnetic forces.
  • Carry out investigations that evaluate how various factors affect the strength of magnetic forces.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Investigation
  • Evaluate
  • Factors (e.g., electric force produced between two charged objects at various positions; magnetic force produced by an electromagnet with varying number of wire turns, varying number or size of dry cells, and varying size of iron core)
  • Force
  • Magnetic force
  • Electric force
  • Electromagnetic Force
  • Attraction
  • Repulsion
  • Magnitude
  • Charges
  • Currents
  • Magnetic strength
Knowledge:
Students know:
  • The strength of electric forces can vary.
  • Cause-and-effect relationships affect the strength of electric forces. These relationships include the magnitude and signs of the electric charges on the interacting objects and distances between the interacting objects.
  • The strength of magnetic forces can vary.
  • Cause-and-effect relationships affect the strength of magnetic forces. These relationships include the magnitude of any electric current present in the interaction, or other factors related to the effect of the electric current (e.g., number of turns of wire in a coil), the distance between the interacting objects, the relative orientation of the interacting objects, and the magnitude of the magnetic strength of the interacting objects.
  • Electric and magnetic forces can be attractive or gravitational.
Skills:
Students are able to:
  • Identify the phenomena under investigation, which includes objects (which can include particles) interacting through electric and magnetic forces.
  • Identify the purpose of the investigation, which includes which includes objects (which can include particles) interacting through electric and magnetic forces.
  • Develop a plan for the investigation individually or collaboratively.
  • Describe factors used in the investigation including appropriate units (if necessary), independent and dependent variables, controls and number of trials for each experimental condition.
  • Perform the investigation as prescribed by the plan.
  • Use data from the investigation to provide an causal account of the relationship between various factors and the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Understanding:
Students understand that:
  • Various factors affect the strength of electric forces.
  • Various factors affect the strength of magnetic forces.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer
Experimenting with Forces and Motion

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
SCI.AAS.8.11- Investigate the effect of distance on the magnetic force of two magnets; use a simple electromagnet to pick up paper clips; investigate the effect of increasing the number of wire turns in the electromagnet on its strength.


Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to construct a working electromagnet.
  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  
Phase:
Before/Engage, During/Explore/Explain
Activity:

  1. Students will view the video clip Everyday Uses of Electromagnets.  

  2. Student groups are given a box which contains a piece of 22 gauge wire, a battery, a nail, a battery holder, and several paper clips.  Groups are instructed to use the materials to make an electromagnet that will pick up one or more paper clips. The students then experiment with the materials to find a solution.  If students get stuck, showing them a magnet from inside a speaker helps them realize that they should coil the wire.

  3. When students are successful in their design, they draw and label the parts in Science journal.  

Assessment Strategies:

  • Student diagrams should show the wire wrapped around the nail and connected to both ends of the battery holder.  All parts should be accurately labeled.

Advanced Preparation:

  • Students should be placed in groups of 4 or fewer.
  • Gather 22 gauge wire, D batteries, battery holders, nails, paper clips, and a speaker that can be taken apart.
  • Pre-cut lengths of 22 gauge wire that will wrap around the iron nails 15-20 times with enough left to attach to the battery holders.
Variation Tips (optional):

  • Students can measure, cut, and strip their own wire.
Notes or Recommendations (optional):

  • It is helpful to use boxes for each group to contain the materials for easy cleanup and transitions.
  Keywords and Search Tags  
Keywords and Search Tags: electromagnet, electromagnetic force