Gone Fishing

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SWBAT identify objects that magnets repel or attract.

Big Idea

Students go "fishing" with a magnetic fishing pole to attract or repel items in a "pond".

Setting the Stage

National Science Teaching Standards (NSTA):

“Magnets attract and repel.” In this lesson, students learn that magnets attract and repel various objects. Magnets attract objects that contain iron, and repel those that do not. This lesson is imperative because students learn that magnetic force is all around. It is one of the 3 kinds of forces (wind, gravity, magnetism). The students are given an opportunity to conduct an experiment (gone fishing) in which they test various objects to see whether they repel (push) or attract (pull) the magnet. It is important take student learn how magnets are used in everyday life. Also, this lesson is taught because of Tennessee standards.

Science and Engineering Practice:

SP 4 addresses using collected data to reveal patterns and relationships. In K-2, students record information (observations, thoughts, and ideas). In this lesson, students experiment with magnets.  They use a chart to notate which items repel or attract to the magnet.

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas. In this lesson, students collaborate in groups to discuss which items can attract or repel magnets. 

Prior Knowledge:

Students understand that force is a push or pull that makes something move.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets they created early in the school year to be worn during experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It Is Science Time" or "I Got A Feeling Song" before each lesson.



10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower and encourage them to become dreamers and doers.

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can recognize force as a push or pull ." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem.

Brain Pop:

Students view a short film on Brain Pop about magnets.  If you have access to Brain Pop Jr., you can observe this video. While viewing the film students learn what magnets are and how they work. The film is used to grasp the attention of the students, and gets them enthusiastic about the lesson that follows. It helps motivate my visual learners.

Debrief: After viewing the film, I lead a discussion about the things that were shown in the film.  I pose this questions: What is a magnet ? How it can pull other things? When do items repel from magnets? What is magnetism? Discussing the film allows me to get an idea of the things students have learned from the video.


20 minutes

When I say "We Are On The Move" and my students stand and sing, We Are On The Move. This routine helps my students move to their group's table with very little distraction. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children who enjoy moving.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to record, measure, and report. I assign the leader who is one of my advanced students. Leadership qualities are present. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  Students are grouped by abilities to support  learning. I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permits students to develop confidence in themselves as well as use their strengths to accomplish their group's goals.  All hands must be on deck. 

Before the groups start their investigation, I discuss the science safety rules. 1. Think Ahead. 2. Be Neat. 3. Be careful 4. Do not place anything in your mouth. It is important for students to have a sense what is and is not appropriate during science investigation. I am preparing them for upper grade science experiments. My students know the importance of being safe.

 Observing Magnetism

Students are informed that they are about to go “fishing” in the classroom. Students collaborate in groups so they can start “fishing.” Once they are in their groups, students observe the objects and ask each other questions about the presented items. They make a prediction about which objects from the “pond” attract or repel. Students record their predictions on the lab sheet. After they have finished making predictions, students do the test. Students use a horseshoe magnet to attempt to “fish” the objects from the “pond.” On the lab sheet, student record which objects repelled and which ones were attracted.

I pose these questions: Which items were attracted to the magnet?  Which items did the magnet repel?  When the magnet attracted an item, did it use a push or pull? Explain?

Gone Fishing Lab Sheet- Student Work

Gone Fishing-video


10 minutes

Once the question and answer session is over, students receive an Exit Ticket. Students complete the assessment based on their ability level. There are three ability levels that are assessed. The Achievers, students performing below grade level; Superstars, students performing at grade level; and All-stars, students performing above grade level.  Assessing students according to ability levels allows the students to receive the support they need to grow academically.

Achiever-Magnet-Student Work

All Star-Magnet-Exit Ticket