Strand: Energy and Forces

Lesson: Magnetism


1. The children will know that the rock magnetite contains magnetic ore
2. The children will discover what materials are attracted to a magnet
3. The children will realise that each magnet has a North and a South Pole
4. The children will discover that opposite Poles attract and similar Poles repel each other
5. The children will be able to test the strength of a variety of magnets
6. The children will magnetise a needle and make a magnetic field

Materials Needed

A variety of magnets (e.g. horseshoe and bar magnets)
a collection of magnetic and non-magnetic objects (eg coins, nails, paper clips, wood, plastic, buttons)
Juniour Science copies

CD Roms: (1) Science Explorer II and (2) Science Explorer 26 - Interactive Experiments



This will be a hands-on lesson with plenty of magnets for each child.
Introduce 5 experiments and organise pupils in groups.



Experiment 1

What materials are attracted by a Magnet?

Place all the magnetic and non-magnetic objects in a shoe box. Test for magnetism, observe and record results of those objects attracted and those not attracted by a magnet, in the science copies.

Experiment 2


Resources: 2 Bar magnets and a table

Place one magnet on the table. Slowly bring the other towards one pole of the magnet on the table. If the free Pole moves away, you were trying to bring similar Poles together. Similar Poles repel each other. If the magnet pulled together, the opposite Poles were attracting each other.

Experiment 3

Testing the Strength of Magnets

Resources: Three different bar magnets, paper clips

Spread a bunch of paper clips on the table. Count the number of clips one magnet will pick up before the clips start dropping off. (The clips must form a chain). Test with other magnets. The strongest will pick up and hold the most clips.

Experiment 4

Magnetising a Needle

Resources: Bar Magnet, Steel Needle

Stroke the needle with one Pole of the magnet, always in the same direcction. Lift the magnet well away from the needle at the end of each stroke. (This gives well-defined North and South Poles). Continue stroking for five minutes, then test your new magnet.

Experiment 5

Creating a Magnetic Field

Resources: A4 sheet, glue,iron filings, bar magnet

Spread some glue over the paper, then sprinkle some iron filings on the paper. Place a bar magnat under the paper. The iron filings will spread out to create a magnetic field.

Results of experiments recorded.

Discuss results.


Reinforce concepts learned by using the following CD Roms.

Set up laptop and data projector. Insert CD Science Explorer II. Go to Catalogue and scan for 'Magnets'. Using the second CD Science Explorer 26 go to 'Compass', then 'Forces and Motion' and then to 'Magnets'.

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