Forces and Magnets

Science Year 3/4 Magnetic Fun and Games

Play and Learn (P & L) Toys make toys and games that are fun and great for learning. They have asked you to help them design and test some new products. These toys and games will work using forces and magnetism. If you accept the challenge you will need to brush up on your scientific knowledge and skills and there will be plenty of testing and investigating to be done. Your final challenge will be to design a new toy or game that works using magnetism.

Session 1 All on the surface

Objectives

You agree to help Ms Pullman from P & L Toys. She asks you to compare the way vehicles move on different surfaces. Can you discover a pattern in your results?

Science Objectives
i) Compare how things move on different surfaces (Yr3).

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 (Yr3)
  • Convert between different units of measure (Yr 4)

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • A printout of the letter to class from Ms Pullman (personalised to your class if possible)
  • Push/pull labels – to classify forces
  • Investigation and plenary PowerPoints
  • Task sheets (Y3 and Y4)

Additional Resources

  • A large selection of everyday items to explore force – see Furious Forces game instructions for details
  • A bag for each group of 4 - 5 children
  • 30 word display cards (5 x 20 cm approx)
  • Sticky tack and a selection of toy vehicles
  • Push/pull labels printed on card and trimmed
  • A short plank of wood for each group of 3-4 children
  • A selection of different surfaces (see Teachers’ Notes)

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.
  • Use the skill of measuring and comparing of length in a practical setting.

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. Conduct a fair test to compare the movement of vehicles on different surfaces.

Investigation - fair testing, problem solving
P&L need help with a racing car game. Test out a toy vehicle on different surfaces to see which racing track (slope) gives the longest run.
Year 3
- Record measurements in a given table.
Year 4 - Use the median of 3 measurements and draw own results table.

Vocabulary
Force, push, pull, prediction, fair test, investigate, measure, friction

Session 2 Forces to be reckoned with!

Objectives

Ms Pullman has some new challenges. Can you identify the different forces at work in a selection of toys? She also wants you to find out how much force is needed to pull toys (or other objects) of different weights. Can you set up a fair test to find out?

Science Objectives
i) Notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance (Yr3).

Working Scientifically

  1. Make systematic and careful observations and, where appropriate, take accurate measurements using standard units, using a range of equipment.
  2. Record findings using simple scientific language, drawings, labelled diagrams, keys, bar charts, and tables.

Other Curriculum Areas
Maths - Statistics

  • Interpret and present data using bar charts, pictograms and tables (Yr3).
  • Interpret and present discrete and continuous data using appropriate graphical methods, including bar charts and time graphs (Yr4).

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Investigation sheets
  • Task and investigation PowerPoints and Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • A selection of different toys and games for children to explore and identify forces involved (see Teachers’ Notes)
  • Task sheets
  • A cardboard label for each toy/ game
  • A good supply of marbles (standard small size)
  • Plenty of 50g and 100g weights
  • a plank of wood for each group of 3-4 children
  • 2 small plastic tubs
  • Either a force meter or a ruler with a chain of 3 thin rubber bands and some strong tape

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Classify forces as either pushes or pulls and know that most need contact but gravity and magnetism do not.
  • Conduct a fair test to investigate how the weight of an object affects the force needed to pull it.
  • Record data in a table and plot it on a bar graph, choosing a suitable scale for the vertical axis.

Activities

  1. Classify forces as either pushes or pulls and understand that whilst some need contact, others do not.
  2. Investigate the force needed to pull an object carrying different weights, then plot data on a bar graph.

Investigation - classifying and identifying, fair testing, problem solving
P&L are reviewing their ball and marble range of toys and games. Review the forces (pushes and pulls) involved in a variety of games (e.g. table football, marble run, bagatelle, magnetic marbles) and classify them. Identify that some need contact but others (gravity and magnetism) do not. Vary the amount of force used and measure the effect.
Year 3 - Use a rubber band to compare the amount of pull needed to move a toy car carrying different loads. Record on a scaffolded sheet.
Year 4 - Make a pushometer and use it to compare the effect of different sized pushes on a ball. Measure distance. Record and plot results.

Vocabulary
Force, push, pull, twist, gravity, magnetism, contact, Newton, force meter, measure, plot

Session 3 A question of magnetism

Objectives

Begin to explore the mysterious world of magnetism and ask some scientific questions. Can you begin to find some answers by setting up a fair test?

Science Objectives
i) Observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others (Yr3)

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.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Y3 and Y4 task sheets
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • A magnetism exploration tray for each table containing a selection of different magnets and other items (see Teachers’ Notes)
  • Some sheets of A4 coloured card
  • A marker pen to record the children’s questions
  • Sticky tack
  • A big box of paperclips and some metal bearings
  • A3 copies of the Y3 and Y4 task sheets

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore the properties of magnets and ask questions.
  • Set up a fair test that will answer a question.
  • Interpret results and draw conclusions.

Activities

  1. Explore magnetism and generate scientific questions that can be investigated.
  2. Plan and carry out a fair test.
  3. Tabulate results and use them to draw conclusions and raise further questions.

Investigation - fair testing, problem solving
P&L want to design some new games and toys that use magnetism so you will need to begin some research. Ask questions about magnets and carry out some investigations to answer them.
Year 3 - Use a task sheet to help structure the investigation.
Year 4 - Encourage more choice and independence in method and recording findings.

Vocabulary
Force, magnet, magnetic, attract, attraction, question, strength, fair test, investigation

Session 4 Attractive materials

Objectives

Can you solve the mystery of which materials are magnetic and which are not? Test your predictions and ask more questions. Is it as simple as you first thought?

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 (Yr3).

Working Scientifically

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

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Copies of the guessing game sheet (1 per child)
  • Task sheets copied onto A3 paper (1 per group) – 4 versions are provided – see Teachers’ Notes
  • PowerPoint presentation
  • Teachers’ Notes

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
  • A tray of assorted 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 – see Teachers’ Notes
  • Camera/ cameras (optional)
  • 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, classifying and identifying, analysing secondary sources
P&L need you to find out which materials are magnetic and which are not. Raise questions and theories about magnetic materials then test your ideas.
Year 3 - Investigate questions on magnetic materials. Record results on task sheet.
Year 4 - Test coins to find which are magnetic. Confirm theories with internet research.

Vocabulary
Magnetic, non-magnetic, attract, attraction, theory, metal, iron, steel

Session 5 Poles apart

Objectives

How do magnets behave towards each other? Investigate the forces of attraction and repulsion and form your own theories to explain what you find.

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 their findings.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

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

Additional Resources

  • Your A4 coloured cards of unanswered questions from previous sessions
  • A wide range of different magnets including: wand, bar, compass, ring and pole, horseshoe, super and marbles –see Teachers’ Notes for details
  • 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. Explore how magnets behave towards one another and form theories to try to explain findings.
  2. Learn that magnets have 2 poles and that same poles repel whilst opposite poles attract.
  3. Consider and explain their exploratory findings in terms of this scientific knowledge.

Investigation - exploring, problem solving
P&L need you to find out why sometimes magnets pull together and sometimes they push apart. Investigate the polarisation of magnets, making predictions and testing ideas.
Year 3 - Assign 3 challenges.
Year 4 - Assign 3 different challenges including the compass (Earth magnet). Report findings and explain to year 3s on this one.

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

Session 6 Fun and games

Objectives

It’s time to design and create an exciting toy or game that works using magnetism for P & L Toys. Can you explain how it is played and what children will learn from it?

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. Identify differences, similarities or changes related to simple scientific ideas and processes.

You Will Need

Provided Resources

  • Quiz PowerPoint
  • Answers PowerPoint
  • Quiz sheet
  • Answers sheet
  • Ideas PowerPoint
  • Task sheet
  • Teachers’ Notes

Additional Resources

  • Large sheets of paper and card (choice of colours and white)
  • Small magnetic whiteboards and sheets of card cut to the same size
  • Felt, funky foam, tissue paper, scissors, googly eyes and coloured pipe cleaners
  • PVA glue pots and glue spreaders and sticks
  • Buttons, dice, counters, garden canes and string
  • Recycled materials including: cardboard boxes (e.g. shoe boxes), smaller boxes and tubs that can be used to store playing pieces or equipment, plastic lids and caps (e.g. from milk and juice bottles)
  • A range of different magnets, ball bearings, paper clips, paper fasteners, magnetic tape, stop watches, and sand timers

Teaching and Activities

Teaching

  • Explore how magnets can be used in a variety of ways to create an educational toy or a game..
  • Consider what each different toy or game is teaching children about magnetism.

Activities

  1. Take part in a quiz to assess knowledge and understanding of magnetism (learnt through this block).
  2. Work in a group to devise and create an educational toy or game that works using magnetism.
  3. Consider what each toy or game will teach children about magnetism and other things.

Investigation - problem solving
It’s time to design and make a new game or toy for P&L that uses magnetism. Create a magnetic activity and present your idea to P&L with an explanation of the magnetic forces involved.
Year 3 /Year 4 - Work together in mixed ability groups. Have higher expectations with regard to year 4s on the level of explanation.

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