Magnet Sizes and Shapes
Lesson 4 of 5
Objective: Students will discover and explore different types of magnets to see if size and shapes makes a difference with strength.
Students are asked to sit at their seats for instructions on an independent activity using magnets.
I say, "You are going to making a prediction about whether or not size and shape of a magnet will affect the strength of the magnet. In your science journals, you will predict how many paper clips each type of magnet will be able to pick up."
In the science journals, I have already placed a form that has a picture of each type of magnet and a blank line next to the words "clips". The students write in a number of how many paper clips they think each type of magnet will hold. This is just a quick hand drawn form that I was able to copy on a half sheet of copy paper to fit in journals. You may want to hand draw yours to match the types of magnets you have on hand.
We go through each one separately and as a group while they write their predictions. While doing this, I ask the students to hold up each type of magnet and I teach them the names of the magnets (ie. horseshoe magnet, rod magnetc, etc.)
I have students record their predictions in their science journals so they could compare their results to what they predicted at the end of the investigation. This teaches students the how to think like a scientists by comparing data with their predictions.
Independent Work Time
Students use the different types of magnets to start picking up paper clips with. I instruct them to pick up one clip at a time and to keep going until the magnet will no longer pick any more up. They are to then record the real number next to their predicted number on the form in their journals.
I express strongly that students should not be changing their predictions. Kindergarten students sometimes see this as a "wrong answer." If I don't make it clear at the beginning that a prediction is not always right and that is why we are testing the predictions.
I walk around to help and give guidance where needed. As I am observing students complete the investigation. I ask them probing questions like the ones below.
Why do you think that magnet is holding that _________ paper clips?
Is that _______ amount of paper clips the same of different from your prediction?
What magnets hold more paper clips? Why do you think that?
Probing questions help to further students thinking. I am guiding them towards the understanding that stronger magnets hold more paper clips.
To close the lesson, I ask students to look back at their numbers. They are to then make a statement in their journals about what they observed. I give sentence stems to help students get started.
I see that the __________ magnet held more/less magnets than I had though it would.
Also, I ask students to really look at the data.
"Do bigger magnets hold more clips than smaller magnets? Why do you think they do or do not?"
The class and I will engage in a conversations about their findings. This discussion simulates what real scientists in the field do when they complete an investigation. Science is collaborative subject. This is where we share what we learned and discuss questions that may have come up during the investigation.