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Magnets: Teachers

Essentials of Magnetism

Learn the basics of magnets and magnetism in Magnets from Mini to Mighty from the National Magnetic Field Laboratory.

This clear introduction to magnetism includes a discussion of earth's magnetism, electromagnetism, and a history of magnetism. It can also be used as independent study for interested students.

If your knowledge of magnets is limited to those on the refrigerator, this video from Physics In Motion will give you a good overview of magnetic force.

Discover How Magnets Really Work in this explanation of the atomic science behind magnetic behavior.

Introduction to Electromagnetism in this Crash Course video from PBS Learning Media.

Resources from PBS Learning Media

All PBS Learning Media lessons come with teacher support material that includes background information, discussion questions, links to helpful sites, and alignment with standards.

For younger students:
Fun With Magnets
Will It Stick?

For older students:
Earth's Magnetic Shield
Turning Electricity and Magnetism Into Mechanical Work
Making Predictions About Magnets
Magnetic Field Detectors
Illuminating the Northern Lights with accompanying guide

Lesson Plans and More

Take a look at Magnets1: Magnetic Pick-Ups and Magnets 2: How Strong Is Your Magnet? In these excellent lessons from ScienceNet, students are encouraged to make predictions and test their theories about magnets.

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has eight hands-on Lesson Plans on electricity and magnetism.

In Exploring Magnetism, from NASA and the Center for Science Education at the University of California at Berkeley, students act as scientists as they discover magnetic fields and electromagnetism through inquiry and measurement. The unit includes complete lesson plans designed for students in 5th grade and up.

You'll want to explore the Utah Education Network's collection of complete lesson plans teaching magnetic behavior and earth's magnetic field. In one lesson, students use GPS to find magnets. In another, students compare permanent magnets and electromagnets. Independent students may enjoy exploring the Sci-berText on their own.

image courtesy of NASA

NASA introduces students to the earth's magnetosphere with this background essay. Scroll down to the Classroom Activities section for excellent lessons and explorations organized by grade level.

Exploring the Earth's Magnetic Field is a great classroom resource from NASA. It includes 23 activities for K-12 teachers to help you teach the basics of magnetism and Earth's magnetic field, with varying degrees of detail depending on grade level.

National Geographic pairs magnetism lesson plans for middle-school students with terrific photographs. See their lessons on how magnetic fields affect planets, electromagnetism, building a magnetometer, and space weather and magnetism.

You'll find multiple lesson plans and hands-on learning activities for grades K-8 at the Minnesota Science Teacher's Education Project's site. The emphasis is on lab investigation and data collection.

Magnetic Attractions is a hands-on lesson for K-2 classrooms from Scholastic.

From Science World Museum, seven exploration activities introduce primary-grade children to the power of magnets. Students may enjoy the introductory video Marvelous, Mysterious Magnets.

Magnets: Polarity is an engaging lesson plan designed for grades 3-5.

Combine magnetism concepts with the invention/design process as your students to design a magnet circus .

Challenge students to use magnetic forces to steer a steel ball (spacecraft) around an obstacle (planet) and hit a designated target. This design problem is similar to a NASA challenge!

Resources for Teachers

Elementary students will enjoy this printable activity book containing facts, games, and puzzles about magnets. Also available in Spanish.

Magnetism for Kids breaks down information into age levels and has downloadable worksheet activities that include making a compass or an electromagnet, exploring magnetic objects, observing magnetic fields, and the history of magnetism.

ScienceWiz has beginner-to-advanced content, videos, animations, games, quizzes, and links to supplement your magnetism unit.

Easy Science For Kids offers two printable quiz-and-word search activities, one for basic magnetism and one for earth's magnetism.

Experiments, Experiments

The study of Magnetism lends itself well to experiments and hands-on exploration. Try some of these experiments with your students and encourage them to make predictions, investigate, and draw conclusions.

Magnetic fruit? Magnetic free fall? These suggested activities from the Exploratorium will captivate young learners.

Can an Invisible Force move cars? Check out these magnetic experiments.

Money in a Blender, Magnetic Slime, and Newton's Nightmare. Students will be actively engaged with these cool magnet experiments, designed to interest even reluctant learners.

Magnet Man has compiled 80 experiments for primary grades through high school, featuring magnetic fields, levitation, electromagnets and more. The site also includes good explanations of the science behind the experiments.

Science Buddies is a great source for magnet experiments and projects. Find out the iron content of cereal in Mag-nificent Breakfast Cereal, or create your own maglev train in Stop The Train.

Magnetism or Gravity? This experiment for K-1 classrooms explores the relative powers of two basic forces.

Create a magnetometer to monitor changes in the Earth's magnetic field for signs of magnetic storms.

Build an electromagnet, a speaker, or a motor. They all use magnets!

Experiment with magnetic insulators and decide which materials are up to the task of weakening magnetic force.

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