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This part of the Magnetism Unit is on What Attracts


Science, Other  


2, 3  

Title – Magnetism – What Magnets Attract

By – Gareth Wicker

Subject – Science

Grade Level – 2nd grade

Content Overview:

The students will learn that magnets only attract certain items, and that not all
metals are attracted to magnets. They will also learn to predict and test their predictions
while working in groups to determine what a magnet will attract. The students will
explain these properties, and what magnets could possibly be used for in a learning

Materials and preparation:

magnets, glass jar, wood, paper, pencil, paper clips, nails, spoon, keys, comb, marbles,
building blocks, aluminum foil, cork, cardboard, coins, plastic bag, battery, tissue, balloon,
bolt, buttons, ruler, scissors, washers, staples, aluminum foil with paper clip, bolts, filing
cabinet, table legs, book cart, chalk board,
pencil, paper, book (to write on) – ST-provided

Items to be tested are separated into four groups – each with an assortment of items that
are/are not attracted, placed in bags, and bags are placed roughly in the four corners of the
classroom [allows enough space for groups to work]

Time: 1hr. 5 min.

Learning Outcomes:

TSWBAT – classify objects attracted and not attracted by a magnet with 95% accuracy

– analyze materials of objects tested and compare similarities and differences

– comprehend properties that make an item attract to a magnet by identifying the
properties in a learning journal

– recognize and list possible uses for a magnet in a learning journal

– work in groups successfully to predict the magnetic attractiveness of items and to
test their predictions

NCSS Standards

Physical Science – properties of objects and materials

– magnetism

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 (discovery of
magnet, use of magnets in many items)

[Prior to lesson, ST will have read a poem for language arts about magnets (

see attached


Intro: [show magnet] Who knows what this is? (show of hands)

[place mag. on board if some hands are not up]

Now do you know what this is? (magnet)

Does anyone know what it does? [not “sticks,” attracts things]

[If ST say “stick” remind them of previous poem – attract]

[show metal bolt] I have a bolt here. Do you think the magnet will attract it?

[select ST for answer, lay bolt down on ST desk, give them the mag]

Ok, test your prediction.

Just like [student’s name] you are going to tell me what a magnet can and cannot attract.

What a magnet attracts activity

– Divide class into 4 groups (should be about 5 per group)

– Assign roles

leader, sorter, writer (predictions), writer (tested items), tester

[if there are less ST, combine writer roles]

– Each group will begin at a station (4 stations around the room)

each station has a bag of items and prediction sheet (see attached #2)

– Writers need a pencil and a book to write on

– Testers get one magnet each

At each station:

– leader empties bag

– sorter makes 2 piles – items that a magnet will attract and items that will not according
to the group

– prediction writer marks group selections on station worksheet

– tester(s) test group predictions on items with magnet

– testing writer marks each item as attract or does not attract on sheet

– leader makes sure everyone is on task and helps where needed in the group

Groups repeat process until all four stations have been visited

Close: After groups have been at all 4 stations, return to desks – ST sit in experiment
groups, not in regular seats

– On a sheet of paper, ST are to write a learning journal about the station experiments
possible questions for consideration:

Why do you think the items that the magnet attracted were effected (and why the
non attracted items were not)?

What properties are similar among the attracted items?

What could a magnet be used for?

[Could focus on the aluminum foil and the balled aluminum foil with a paper clip]

ST Turn in journal at the end of class


Magnets attract.

That’s a fact.

Things like nails

And metallic pails.

Magnets attract.

That’s a fact.

Things like cars

And lids on jars.

Magnets attract.

That’s a fact.

Things like pins

And cookie tins.

Magnets attract.

That’s a fact.

Here are the worksheets for each station, and the key





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