Magnetic Attraction

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Students will be able to categorize objects based on their attraction to magnetic forces and engage in scientific discourse regarding their findings.

Big Idea

In previous lessons, students have explored magnets without a specific outcome. Today, scientists will discover what types of materials are attracted to magnets through investigation.


5 minutes

Today, the class will investigate objects to determine their behavior to a magnetic force.  I will not tell them what types of materials are magnetic or not. I will only begin by asking them, "Do you think all objects are attracted to a magnetic force?"

As students discuss their beginning thoughts with their table groups, I will listen in for ideas and initial understandings. This information will help me begin my conversations with student while they are investigating today. 

Mini Lesson

5 minutes

As a mini lesson today, I will instruct the students to use the objects on their science trays in order to answer our focus question more clearly. I will also share with them our learning target for the day, which is: I can describe what types of objects are attracted to a magnetic force. 

Then, I will ask the students to make a two-column chart and label one column in a way to show items are attracted to a magnet, and one column for those that are not. 

Finally, I will explain to the students that they should work fairly, as a group, and remember to discuss their findings with each other. 

Active Engagement

15 minutes

As always, as the students begin to examine the objects, I will circulate the room and discuss what they are finding, interact with them regarding their questions, and keep everyone on task. 

This group was continuing to explore magnets like we did yesterday, as they still had questions based on some interesting findings. When I arrived, I redirected them to the task and had them begin sorting their objects. 

This sorting should not take your students long. This is the work that needs to be done before the longer conversation about findings and what they might mean, which is the meat of the lesson. 

Scientific Discourse

15 minutes

To begin the conversation regarding findings,, I will have students share what they learned and what surprised them. Discussing not only the results, but what those results made the students wonder, will set us up for further investigations and reminds the students that scientists gain information from questioning first, and then searching for the answer. 

These clips are examples of part of our conversation. Pay attention to the talking moves, precise vocabulary usage, and the review of content.  I am merely a facilitator at this time of the year (spring) for my students!

This next video shows one of my students explaining what type of materials she thinks are attracted to a magnetic force. I notice she has an aluminum object listed as an item that was attracted and I try to get the class to discuss it. 

One of my very, very shy students finally shares her thought. I was so happy to see her hand raised, that I went right to her!  Safety in a conversation is so important, and I think she is finally feeling that with our class. (She has only been in our group for a month).  You will also see the original speaker's partner at her desk discussing their outcomes. He later stated that he thinks they got the nails mixed up and the aluminum one did not attract. I suggested that they re-test both during the next science session.