It's Only Temporary!

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Students will be able to create a temporary magnet.

Big Idea

Students have a clear understanding at this point of magnetic force and magnetic and non magnetic items. Today they will explore using that knowledge to create magnets out of non magnetic objects.


3 minutes

During our lesson Magnet Investigations, many students experienced paperclips becoming magnetic. I merely expressed surprise and question at that time.  However, I knew they wanted to understand the why, so today's lesson will explore "How can a non-magnetic object be made into a magnet?"

If you are going to try to do this lesson, please be aware that your students should have a strong grasp of magnetic forces and how magnetism works before teaching about the process of induction. 

Mini Lesson

10 minutes

In order to set my students up for success, I will remind them of the phenomena that they witnessed with the paperclips being magnetically attracted to another paperclip!  I will have one of the students come up and model what he had done in the prior lesson. I will then turn their attention to our learning target, which is in the resource section. 

As he shares, I will ask questions that will prompt some thinking by my students to take to their investigation.

1. Do you think the paper clip will be a permanent magnet, or will it only be one temporarily?

2. What do you think has to be done to create magnetism?

3. What do you notice about how Jackson set up his experiment?

Next, I will put the following definition of induced magnetism on the board and ask the students to read it silently and then turn to their partner and discuss what they think it means. When they are done discussing, I will help them clarify that induced means to bring something about, or make something happen. 

When a piece of unmagnetised magnetic material touches or is brought near to the pole of a permanent magnet, it becomes a magnet itself. The magnetism is induced. A North pole induces a North pole in the far end.

Then, I will show the students a tray of test items, filled with magnetic and non-magnetic items, and, obviously, a few magnets. Their instructions are to work as a team to create a temporary magnet and work to explain why it works. 


Active Engagement

20 minutes

As the students begin to explore, I begin to circulate.  My whole focus here is to prompt the students to work with intention.  So I ask questions like, "What are you trying to do?", "What is your plan?", "Has anything worked, or not worked?"

In this video, the student is trying different items and seems a bit distracted, but really, she is just taking it all in and learning from her partner's efforts. I am also able to catch a student trying to guide the group by suggesting a focused investigation.  

When I circled back to this group, the student had a model that was successfully inducing magnetism.  Listen in to her great use of science terms!

Sharing and Closing

5 minutes

Following enough exploration for the students to have success, I will introduce a letter writing experience found in the Foss kit.  Essentially, the students are writing to another student in order to convince him/her that a magnet with a nail attracted to it could be used to pick up a paper clip-from the nail.