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The last section Makes and Uses a Compass
Title – Magnetism – Making and Using a Compass
By – Gareth Wicker
Subject – Science
Grade Level – 2nd Grade
The students will take knowledge from the previous lessons of what magnets will attract and how to make a magnet and utilize that knowledge for this lesson. Magnetic attraction and direction are related, and finding direction and locations using a homemade compass will be used.
Materials and preparation:
needles, magnets, string, black electrical tape, bar magnet (with labeled poles), chalkboard paper, pencil – ST provided
labeled bar magnet should be hung from the ceiling or other visible point prior to the lesson, label the north and south poles with construction paper letters
Time: 1hr. 5min.
TSWBAT – understand the directional usage of magnets by explaining that the earth is a large magnet, and that smaller magnets can be used in conjunction with it.
– demonstrate knowledge of the north-seeking properties of a magnet by utilizing a compass
– demonstrate understanding of direction by drawing a map or giving accurate directions that use collected data
– work in groups by completing all group exercises successfully
– realize that magnets can be utilized for practical uses by completing directional activities and by listing other uses for magnets
Physical Science – properties of objects and materials (north-seeking magnets – direction)
– position and motion of objects – (direction by magnetic guidance)
Science as Inquiry – abilities necessary to do inquiry (predict and test)
– understanding about scientific inquiry (predict and test)
Personal and Social Perspectives – science and technology in social challenges (items magnets are used in)
History and Nature of Science Standards – science as a human endeavor (directional capability)
Intro: Give ST situation: You’ve been camping, but now you’re lost in a forest. How would you find your way out?
[take answers] Do you know how you could use a magnet to find your direction?
[show compass] Does anyone know what this is?
Do you know what it does? (shows direction)
Do you know how it works? (needle is a magnet attracted to magnetic north pole)
What would this mean for a person who is lost in the woods? (N points north, could use that to find out what direction you needed to go)
[Show suspended bar magnet labeled N and S]
Does anyone know what the N and S stand for? (north and south)
Do you know why they are labeled that way?
– North is the north-seeking pole
– South is the south-seeking pole
Do you know what those terms mean?
The largest magnet on the earth is the earth
– What would that mean for other magnets? (they are all attracted to the earth)
The N-seeking pole of a magnet always points north (unless another magnet interferes).
If a magnet is allowed to swing freely like this one [suspended bar magnet] the N-seeking pole of the magnet will point toward magnetic north (close to the north pole but not quite)
[on chalkboard] If a magnet points north [draw an arrow up] where would south be?
What about east and west? [draw appropriate directions and label on board]
We’re going to pretend that this classroom is a forest and we’re lost. You are going to help us get out.
Explain direction completely first
– ST split into 4 groups
– roles – compass maker, compass holder, compass reader, travel recorder, forest leader, map maker [can combine compass holder and reader if not enough ST]
– groups are given a needle and magnet
– [review magnetizing] compass maker strokes the needle 50 times with the magnet
– magnet is returned and the needle is tested with the hanging bar magnet. N is labeled by placing black tape on one end of the needle
– groups will determine N, S, E, and W (each starting in a different direction) will list 1 item for each group member that is in the classroom at that direction
– groups rotate until all four directions have been covered, end up in original direction they began with
- groups will draw map or write directions using the landmarks they have recorded to find their way from one point in the room to another, must use at least 4 landmarks and include directions (N, S, E, W)
Close: groups will rotate maps/directions, groups will follow new plan to destination – use compass to find directions
How do we know
Which way to go?
Look at the magnet
and it will show.
North, south, east or west,
For finding directions it is the best.
How does it work?
It’s as simple as can be.
The planet’s biggest magnet is itself, you see.
The biggest, and strongest magnet of all
Compared to it, all others are quite small.
Because of its size, it’s pull is so strong
that all other magnets are pulled along.
Try as they might, for all that they’re worth,
Magnets can’t help but point toward north.
So the next time you’re lost
without a clue,
Let a magnet find your way
to rescue you.
E-Mail Gareth !