Electromagnets (2/3)

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Students will be able to construct understanding about electromagnets through structured research.

Big Idea

Students have learned and experimented with both magnetism and electricity. It is now time, during these 3 lessons, to put that information together and explore the concept of electromagnets!


5 minutes

In our previous session, I began the students on a controlled "step" research activity to build background schema about an electromagnet.

Today, the students will review what they have recorded on their graphic organizer as their beginning understanding, questions and wondering, and facts from informational reading. I will also ask them to share with their shoulder partner what more they think they need to know in order to explain, and build their own electromagnet.



10 minutes

The next step in our learning is to read an article in the book supplied by the FOSS kit on how an electromagnet help stop a war.  If you don't have access to a FOSS kit, the same information can be found on the web. I located this one for you, if you find it necessary.

Part 5 of the stepped approach is to watch the following two short videos on how to create an electromagnet and jot important notes. As the student's view, I will pause the videos frequently to answer questions, confirm facts, and give the students time to write. 

Sharing and Closing

15 minutes

The closing and sharing today is actually the most important part of the lesson. This is when I ask the students to put together all they have learned, assess if their questions were answered, and determine if they need more information prior to the  next session, in which they will be building and experimenting with their own electromagnet. 

I have the students share their notes and understandings before explaining what they still need to know. 

Finally, I give students a chance to share with me, and the whole class what they have learned. This is an important step for me, as an instructor, as I will be listening to decide what I need to teach during a mini lesson during the building session.

This student was able to explain her knowledge of how to build an electromagnet, as well as explain to me that my choice of videos was only 50% helpful!  Next year, I will eliminate the first video, and you may want to as well, as most of my students commented that it was just confusing and moved too quickly.

After discussing notes with many of the students, I prompting the students to think about where they felt they learned the most.  This type of questioning/discussion is critical in helping students become aware of their learning style. 


The following clip highlights my student making sense of how an electromagnet can be "turned on and off", which was one of his beginning questions.