2. What Are Magnets ?

20 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


Make predictions and observations to determine the cause and effect relationship between magnets and magnetic and nonmagnetic items in seven out of nine objects.

Big Idea

Magnetic forces between a pair of objects do not require that an object be in contact.


1 minutes

Warm up

5 minutes

 I am not the first, nor the last teacher, to resort to parlor tricks to grab my students' attention! In this introductory lesson on magnets I did just that! I told them to watch as I made four ordinary paperclips disappear without touching them. I swept my hand over the paperclips and they "disappeared". I got a lot of " how'd you do that?", to which I replied, " it's not really magic,  it's science", and I showed them the magnet I had hidden in my palm. They were hooked.

Guided practice

15 minutes

This is an introductory lesson on magnets. I wanted my students to come to the realization that not all metals are attracted to a magnet. I created a PowerPoint, What is a magnet?, to help guide my students through the lesson. By using the Powerpoint, I can ensure that I am reaching multiple learning styles as well as keeping the lesson on track. Students contribute to the conversation and discussion by adding how they've seen magnets used, How I've seen magnets used. The Powerpoint used through the interactive whiteboard helped my students focus on the content, here is our almost complete class table, What I know about Magnets How I've seen magnets used Table. A 


20 minutes

Teachers cannot afford to buy items for every investigation, nor can we always rely on the students to bring in the materials. This was a very low budget investigation. All of the items I used I already had either in my garage, or my classroom. I created an organizer Will the magnet attract it?, that has words and pictures. I do this on a regular basis to help make the activities more manageable for my English Language Learners and it is a huge success. I believe that it is essential that students share their preliminary ideas as well as their discoveries, that is why we created a Class Magnet Prediction Tally Chart to quantify our predictions in a way that my students can quickly use to compare. Here is a sample of one of the students' predictions, Magnet predictions

Class Discussion/Wrap Up

10 minutes

Just taking a few minutes to evaluate and think about what we have done and why is monumental. It gives my students a chance to share what they have learned and me the opportunity to informally assess whether the lesson was successful. We started the lesson with the question, "What are magnets?" and we ended it the same way. My students wrote their own definition and then compared their definition to the one in the PowerPoint, they did an excellent job. They were also able to answer one of their own guiding questions from the previous lesson "Why do magnets stick to my refrigerator?"  For homework, I gave my students an article "Don't put magnets in your mouth, many warn"from www.newsela.com. This site offers different reading levels of the same article. It is a wonderful resource for differentiation.