Forces and Magnets

Science Year 3 Amazing Magnets

Mr Andrew Newton of the British Scientific Society is in need of your help. Are you up to the task of developing some exciting activities on the theme of Magnetism to delight visitors at their annual science fair? If the answer is “Yes” – it’s time to have some fun with magnets whilst learning at the same time!

Session 1 May the force be with you!

Objectives

You receive the letter from Mr Newton of the British Scientific Society and agree to help him develop some exciting activities on the theme of Magnetism for their annual science fair. But first you need to get to grips with what a force is!

Science Objectives
i) Compare how things move on different surfaces.

Working Scientifically

  1. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  2. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment.

Other Curriculum Areas
Maths - Measurement

  • Measure, compare, add and subtract: lengths (m/cm/mm).

Extended Writing Opportunities
Recount: Write a letter to Mr Andrew Newton of the British Scientific Society to tell him about your initial investigation into the forces needed to move a toy vehicle on different surfaces.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Printout of the (personalised) Letter to Class from Mr Newton
  • Push/pull labels – to classify forces
  • Investigation PowerPoint to introduce task
  • Task sheets (1 each)

Additional Resources

  • Selection of everyday items – see Furious Forces instructions for details
  • A bag for each group of 4 - 5 children
  • Marker pen
  • 30 word display cards
  • Sticky tack & masking tape
  • Push/pull labels printed on card and trimmed
  • A selection of toy vehicles (enough for 1 between 3)
  • Thin rubber bands
  • Balloons (ideally old flabby, flat ones – see Teachers’ Notes)
  • Different testing surfaces (e.g. grass, tarmac, carpet, lino)

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Understand that forces are pushes and pulls which can make things move, stop or change shape.
  • Set up and conduct a comparative fair test, record measurements and discuss results.

Activities

  1. Play a game in teams to explore all the different ways forces can act on a variety of everyday objects.
  2. Classify each action as either a push, a pull or both.
  3. Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the amount of force needed to move a toy vehicle on different surfaces making choices about whether to measure push or pull and how to keep it fair.
  4. Evaluate, review and discuss findings (e.g. were predictions correct? Were tests fair?).

Investigation - exploring/classifying and identifying
Ask questions and then investigate how toy vehicles run on different surfaces. Begin to explain in terms of forces.

Vocabulary
Force, push, pull, theory, fair test, investigate, measure

Session 2 Acting forces

Objectives

Recap by thinking about the different forces involved in various sports. Discover that gravity is a force that doesn’t need contact – but is it the only one? No: magnetism can also pull objects from a distance. Experiment with magnetism, ask questions and design fair tests to answer them.

Science Objectives
i) Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Set up simple practical enquiries and comparative and fair tests.
  3. Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

Other Curriculum Areas
Maths - Statistics

  • Interpret and present data using bar charts, pictograms and tables.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Printouts of the Sporty Forces Team and Teacher’s Score sheets
  • Sporty Forces PowerPoint
  • How to play Sporty Forces
  • Teaching PowerPoint
  • A3 copies of the task sheet – 1 per group of 3 children
  • A4 copies of results tables

Additional Resources

  • A big box of paperclips
  • A small piece of stiff card per child (12 x 8 cm approx.)
  • Different types of magnets (e.g. horseshoe, bar, disk, wand)
  • A4 sheets of coloured paper or card
  • Marker pen
  • Some metal bearings
  • Clear storage boxes that can be filled with water

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Ask questions and answer them by planning and carrying out a fair test.
  • Explore forces and discover that gravity and magnetism can act without contact.

Activities

  1. Play a game in teams to explore and show the different ways forces can act in different sports.
  2. Actively investigate how some forces can act without contact (gravity and magnetism).
  3. Explore magnetism, ask questions and attempt to answer them by planning and carrying out a fair test.
  4. Tabulate results and use them to draw conclusions and raise further questions.

Investigation - exploring/classifying and identifying
Investigate how it is forces that make things move (pushes and pulls) and that magnetic forces can move things at a distance without forces touching.

Vocabulary
Forces, pushes, pulls, gravity, contact, magnet, magnetism, fair test, results, table

Session 3 Magnetic attraction

Objectives

Begin to think about which items are attracted to magnets and why. Ask questions and test them out e.g. Is it just metal things? Are all metal things attracted? Why not?

Science Objectives
i) Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet and identify some magnetic materials.

Working Scientifically

  1. Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiries to answer them.
  2. Gather, record, classify and present data in a variety of ways to help answer questions.
  3. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
  4. Use results to draw simple conclusions, make predictions for new values, suggest improvements and raise further questions.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Non-chronological reports: Write an information leaflet for younger children about the Magic of Magnets.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Printouts of 3 suggested questions for investigation
  • Printouts of any questions tackled last session from the Teaching PowerPoint (see Session 3 resource)
  • Copies of the Guessing Game Sheet (1 per child)
  • Task sheets

Additional Resources

  • Your A4 coloured cards of questions on magnetism (from last session)
  • A tray containing the 12 items shown on the teaching PowerPoint
  • Coloured sheets of A4 card or paper
  • Marker pen
  • Tray of items made from different materials including lots of metal
  • A good selection of different types of magnet
  • A strong magnet on a string
  • Several bags of coins
  • Camera/ cameras
  • Access to computers for research
  • Vinegar (if shininess is proposed as a reason to be magnetic)

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Develop scientific method and thinking, using curiosity to generate questions.
  • Answer questions by testing and sorting items using magnets.

Activities

  1. Play a guessing game to encourage theories and predictions on which items will be magnetic.
  2. Turn their theories into questions that can be answered through scientific enquiry.
  3. Methodically test, classify and sort different items/materials and thus raise more questions to consider.
  4. Record findings and report back on them to the class.

Investigation - exploring/predicting/classifying and identifying
Investigate how magnets attract some materials and not others. Compare and group materials.

Vocabulary
Magnetic, non-magnetic, attract, attraction, theory

Session 4 Poles apart

Objectives

Explore how magnets behave towards each other in a variety of different exciting challenges. Discover that magnets have 2 poles and that same poles repel whilst opposite poles attract. Learn that the world itself is a giant magnet!

Science Objectives
i) Observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others.

ii) Describe magnets as having two poles.

Working Scientifically

  1. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.
  2. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support findings.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Task PowerPoint
  • 3 Strikes and You’re Out PowerPoint
  • Copies of 6 different challenge sheets

Additional Resources

  • Your A4 cards of unanswered questions from previous sessions
  • A wide range of different magnets including: wand, bar, compass, ring and pole, horseshoe, super and marbles
  • A plastic tub of water for each compass magnet

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore how magnets behave towards each other and form theories to explain it.
  • Understand that magnets have 2 poles and that opposite poles attract and like poles repel.

Activities

  1. Play a game to revise and reinforce prior learning on magnetic forces.
  2. Explore how magnets behave towards one another in a wide variety of different situations.
  3. Form theories and seek to explain findings.
  4. Learn that magnets have 2 poles and that same poles repel whilst opposite poles attract.
  5. Consider and explain their exploratory findings in terms of this scientific knowledge.

Investigation - exploring/predicting
Investigate the polarisation of magnets, making predictions and testing ideas.

Vocabulary
Magnetic, non-magnetic, attract, repel, attraction, repulsion, poles, north, south

Session 5 Magnetic fun time

Objectives

Play a fast paced game to practise your knowledge of whether magnets attract or repel each other depending on which poles are facing. Devise an exciting activity on magnetism to fascinate visitors to the science fair.

Science Objectives
i) Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.

Working Scientifically

  1. Use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support findings.

Other Curriculum Areas
Maths - Measurement

  • Estimate and read time with increasing accuracy to the nearest minute. Record and compare time in terms of seconds and minutes.

You Will Need

Additional Resources

  • 40 cardboard red/blue bar magnets with either Attract or Repel written on the reverse of each
  • A large selection of different magnets
  • A large selection of craft resources
  • Magnetic items, e.g. metal bearings, paperclips, paper fasteners, bulldog clips, a selection of copper and silver coins
  • Stop watches and sand timers of different time lengths (e.g. 1, 2 and 3 minute types)
  • Garden canes and string – to make magnetic fishing rods
  • Large tub/tank of water and items to put in it to create boat course

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Revise and reinforce knowledge of attraction and repulsion between magnetic poles through participation in an active game.
  • Devise and prepare activities (for visitors to a science fair, that use magnetic force.

Activities

  1. Play a game to revise and reinforce knowledge of how magnets attract and repel depending on which poles are facing.
  2. Work in a group to devise a magnetic game or challenge for visitors to a science fair.
  3. Assemble and make resources to run activity including signs to introduce the challenge.
  4. Consider what each activity will teach visitors about magnetism.

Investigation - exploring
Develop a game or activity that uses magnetic forces by trying out a variety of ideas.

Vocabulary
Magnetic, non-magnetic, attract, repel, attraction, repulsion, poles, time, record, force

Session 6 All the fun of the fair!

Objectives

It’s time to test your knowledge of magnetic forces in a quiz before setting up your exhibit ready for the science fair. You will need to write some questions to really get visitors thinking and then write your own explanations and answers. Test run each other’s exhibits and discuss possible improvements before all the photos and ideas get sent off to Mr Newton.

Science Objectives
i) Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance.

ii) Observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others.

iii) Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet and identify some magnetic materials.

Working Scientifically

  1. Report on findings from enquiries, including oral and written explanations, displays or presentations of results and conclusions.
  2. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

Extended Writing Opportunities
Explanations: Write questions and explanations about magnetic forces for the visitors to your science fair.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Quiz PowerPoint and answers PowerPoint
  • Quiz sheets and answer sheet
  • Teaching PowerPoint
  • Teachers’ Notes.

Additional Resources

  • A large selection of different magnets (as used in previous sessions)
  • The resources made by groups last session for the Science Fair
  • Signs and notices made last session to attract people to their activity
  • A large selection of craft resources
  • Magnetic items
  • Resources for group activities, e.g. coins, stop watches, sand timers, water tank – but these will vary according to your children’s ideas
  • The plenary sheets (Group Activity Summary) completed last session
  • Camera

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Ask questions on magnetism to get people thinking.
  • Answer questions and write explanations using knowledge and understanding of magnetism.

Activities

  1. Take part in a quiz to assess knowledge and understanding of magnetism (learnt through this block).
  2. Ask questions that encourage participants at the science fair to think about magnetism and its effects.
  3. Write explanations to answer these questions.
  4. Quality test each other’s exhibits and pass on advice and praise using 2 stars and a wish.

Investigation - analysing secondary sources
Test your knowledge of magnetic forces. Design a poster to explain the science behind your game or activity. Stage it in an attractive eye catching way.

Vocabulary
Magnetic, non-magnetic, attract, repel, attraction, repulsion, poles, force