Students will conduct three related investigation concerning magnetic attraction and the relative strength of magnets.
Students will conduct three related investigations concerning magnetic attraction and the relative strength of magnets in this activity. They will determine how many objects a magnet can hold and then determine if additional magnets will affect the overall magnetic force. Students will work with different kinds of magnets and find that magnetic force varies greatly among the varying types and is not necessarily related to the size of the magnet. Magnets are made of many different materials including iron and iron alloys. The force that a magnet exerts depends on many variables, including the condition of the magnet, the alignment of the magnetic domains that exist within it, its material make-up, etc. When magnets are combined, the magnets act as one magnet and will have an increase in force.
Students will also measure the distance a paper clip will move toward a magnet and then add magnets to see if the distance is affected. The distance that is observed represents the extent of the magnetic force; however, the magnetic force may extend beyond what is observed. Factors such as friction may affect the observations.
Students will finally investigate the effectiveness of magnetic force through materials of varying thicknesses. A magnet's force acts through space, and certain materials appear to be relatively transparent to a magnetic field.
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles.
Invitation to Learn
Begin this activity by demonstrating the "flying" paper clip (Attach a paper clip to a 12-18 inch piece of fishing line and tape one end to the desk. Pass a high powered magnet near it and pull it upward); or the "floating" magnet (Place several disk magnets on a dowel or pencil so that each is repelled from the one next to it); or allow the students to play with an Etch-A-Sketch™ or a Magna Doodle™ or any other magnet-type game.
This is a three-part discovery activity. The activities do not need to be completed in sequential order. The activity works better when completed with partners or in small groups of three to four; each person will record on their own paper.
Have the students create a game of some kind using magnets. Bring the game back to school and have a magnet game sharing opportunity.
Jacobs, Struan,. (2001). Limits to problem solving in science. EBSCO Publishing. Retrieved November 22, 2005.
Lee, Kam-Wah, & Chin, Christine. (2000). Science teachers and problem solving in elementary schools in singapore. EBSCO Publishing. Retrieved December 12, 2005.
Classroom environments that provide opportunities for small groups of children to work together to solve problems tend to foster the development of problem-solving skills. Students should be given problems to consider and through the process of problem solving, thinking skills can be developed. Even though research shows that students should have these opportunities, these strategies are not being used in the majority of elementary and secondary classrooms.