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The students will be able to compare permanent magnets and electromagnets through a hands‐on experience by building an electromagnet and a motor. They will also have the chance to try several experiments with an electromagnet that they create themselves!
Materials needed per group to make the electromagnets:
Materials needed per student to make the motors:
Science language that students should use: battery, complete circuit, incomplete circuit, current, conductor, insulator, pathway, power source, electromagnetism, magnetic force, attract, repel, compass, magnetic field, permanent magnet
Magnetism comes from the special arrangement of atoms in certain materials. Everything is made of atoms, and each atom has its own tiny, magnetic field. In materials such as rubber, paper, plastic, and ordinary rock, the atoms have no particular arrangement, so all the atomic magnetic fields cancel each other out and produce no overall magnetic quality. In iron, however, the individual atoms are magnetized strongly enough to line up in tiny groups called magnetic domains. Depending on how aligned these magnetic domains are with one another, iron can be non‐magnetized, strongly magnetized, or completely magnetized.
Students confusion and misconceptions about magnetism must be carefully considered.
Understanding how an electromagnet works is very basic. By running electric current through a wire, you can create a magnetic field. A loop of wire that carries an electric current creates a magnetic field through the loop. You can increase the strength of this magnetic field by winding a lot of loops. The more loops, the stronger the magnet. An electromagnet may be constructed with enamel‐coated wire wound around a large iron nail and connected to the poles of a battery. When this magnetic field is created it can be used to make motors, to read/write hard drives, to make stereo speakers, etc.
Invitation to Learn:
Begin with a riddle.
We will be studying magnetism through electromagnets for the next few weeks. First, let's assess what the students already know by creating a foldable for their journals called a KW‐L‐H chart.
It stands for:
What you already Know.
What you Want to find out.
What you Learned.
How you can learn more.
We will add new information to the chart throughout the unit.
Activity Connected to the Lesson:
Magnetism. You can magnetize a conductor of electricity, such as a nail, by running current through the conductor. The more coils of wire that are wrapped around the nail, the stronger the electromagnet will become. The smaller the battery, the less magnetism will be produced. An electric current has a magnetic field around it. This magnetic field is seen in the construction of an electromagnet, which is made by wrapping a wire, the pathway, into coils.)
Using Electromagnets to make a Motor (Allow 30 minutes for this activity)
Lesson and Activity Time Schedule: