ALEX Lesson Plan


How Do Magnets Work?

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Katie Lewis
System: Montgomery County
School: Montgomery County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 12225


How Do Magnets Work?


During this lesson students will examine magnets and determine that they have two poles (north and south). They will observe which poles attract and which poles repel.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
SC (2)
4. Describe observable effects of forces, including buoyancy, gravity, and magnetism.
buoyancy—boat floating on water,
gravity—apple falling from tree,
magnetism—magnets adhering to metal
  • Identifying simple machines, including the inclined plane, lever, pulley, wedge, screw, and wheel and axle
  • TC2 (K-2)
    1. Identify basic parts of various technology systems.
  • Naming input and output devices
  • Examples: input—keyboard, stylus
    TC2 (K-2)
    2. Identify applications and operations of various technology systems.
    Examples: applications—word processing, multimedia presentation software
    operations—opening, closing, and saving files
  • Using accurate terminology related to technology
  • Example: "press," not "hit," keys
  • Using input devices to enter letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Using special functions of input devices
  • Example: keyboard shortcuts
  • Labeling storage media
  • Removing storage media safely
  • TC2 (K-2)
    3. Demonstrate correct posture and finger placement while using a technology system.
    TC2 (K-2)
    4. Identify safe use of technology systems and applications.
    Examples: protecting personal information online, avoiding inappropriate sites, exiting inappropriate sites
    TC2 (K-2)
    5. Practice responsible use of technology systems and applications.
    Example: maintaining proper settings
  • Demonstrating care of digital equipment and media
  • Examples: washing hands before use, cleaning work area before and after use
  • Distinguishing between ethical and unethical use of others' work
  • Examples: avoiding plagiarism, avoiding manipulation of others' work without permission
    TC2 (K-2)
    7. Use digital tools to access and retrieve information.
    Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries, search engines, directories
  • Evaluating accuracy of digital content
  • Example: determining fact versus opinion
    TC2 (K-2)
    10. Design original works using digital tools.
    Examples: tools—digital drawing tools, music software, word processing software, digital cameras
    SC2015 (3)
    3. Explore objects that can be manipulated in order to determine cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., distance between objects affecting strength of a force, orientation of magnets affecting direction of a magnetic force) of electric interactions between two objects not in contact with one another (e.g., force on hair from an electrically charged balloon, electrical forces between a charged rod and pieces of paper) or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with one another (e.g., force between two permanent magnets or between an electromagnet and steel paperclips, force exerted by one magnet versus the force exerted by two magnets).

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will identify which poles of magnets attract and repel each other. Students will give examples of ways magnets are used.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Bar magnets (enough for 4 groups), rulers

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer with Internet access, spreadsheet software


    Students should have experience entering data into a spreadsheet program. Students should have experience navigating a website.

    1.)Begin the lesson by telling students they are going to perform a scientific investigation using magnets. Review the steps of a scientific investigation. Have students form a hypothesis about what happens when they bring together the ends of two magnets.

    2.)Have students set up a chart using a piece of paper, a pencil, and a ruler labeling two columns. One column should be titled ends, and the other attract or repel.

    3.)Divide the class into four groups. Have each group test the hypothesis by bringing the ends of two magnets together, and recording the information on the chart. Make sure students identify the different poles of the magnets.

    4.)Have one member of each group enter the information into a spreadsheet program, and then print out the information. Have each group share the information they gathered with the class.

    5.)After the groups have shared their findings, have them review a website about magnets to learn more information.
    (Magnet Man)
    This website gives different facts about magnets and also gives different experiments to try with magnets.

    6.)Once students have reviewed the website have them discuss what they learned. Have the students share ways magnets can be used. After the discussion have the students answer the assessment questions.


    Assessment Strategies

    Have the students answer the following questions:
    Was your hypothesis correct?
    Identify the two poles of a magnet.
    Which ends attracted?
    Which ends repelled?
    Why do you think that occurred?
    List ways magnets are used everyday.
    Check the students' responses for accuracy.





    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.