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A good introductory lesson, this one is on What Attracts and Why

Subject:

Science  

Grades:

1, 2  

Title – What do magnets attract and why?
By – Scott Dan
Subject – Science
Grade Level – 1st – 2nd
Magnet Discovery: “What do magnets attract to and why?”
Materials:
A. 12 magnet wands (enough for half the children)
B. 12 nose man magnets (enough for the other half of the children)
C. One container of Iron Fillings
D. 6 pencil boxes (or other small boxes)
E. Worksheet for charting what the magnets stick to and don’t
F. Other misc. magnets
G. Other items that magnets will attract
H. Items that magnets won’t attract to (coins, and other metals that don’t attract to magnets)
Procedure:
A. Separate children into groups of two
B. In each group, supply one magnet wand, one nose man magnet and one worksheet
C. Ask the children if they know what those objects are, but do not confirm or deny anyone’s answer. If a child says a magnet, then ask what magnets do. Ask the child what they can do with these tools, if they are magnets, to prove that they are magnets.
D. Ask the children to take the tools that were just provided to them and to walk around the room and see if they will stick to anything in the room. Have them either write or draw a picture in the chart of every object they try (up to ten, then they may get another worksheet). The worksheet also asks what that object was made of, and if it stuck or not to the magnet.
E. Set the ground rules.
1.) Do not try this on the computer
2.) No running in the room
3.) Keep voices down
F. Allow for 10-15 minutes of exploration
G. Gather for whole group discussion in a specific location in the room (calendar area).
H. Ask if they know what these tools are
I. Do we know anything about magnets (assuming someone says magnets to previous question)
J. Ask the children to share some of their results with the class
K. Once everyone has had a turn sharing, ask about the third column in their charts (it asks to tell what the object is made of: metal, wood, cement, etc.)
L. Continue talking about what magnets stick to. If the children have differing results, then do more experiments. For example, have the children use their magnets to retest the object in question.
M. Once the children understand that magnets stick to some kinds of metals, ask why some kind of metals attract to magnets and not others.
N. Have them compare the different kinds of metals in the room (or provide examples) and ask them to describe any differences. The goal here is not to tell the children that it is because to the arrangement of its atoms, but to let them realize that the metals must be different in some way (perhaps the way that they are made or materials that make up the metals are different)
O. Have the children go back to their desks and provide each group of tables (pair by two) with a small box filled with a small amount of iron fillings.
P. Let them use their magnets and explore the material for about 10 minutes (may be less due to time constraints, if so, this may be done on a different day)
Q. Ask them what they know about this material (made of metal) and please explain your answer. Ask if everyone agrees or does someone else have another idea. If everyone agrees, let them see the package (iron fillings)
R. May continue by showing various ways to manipulate this strange material.
S. May conclude the lesson by asking the children if they have any questions about magnets they would like to investigate. Write these down on a large piece of paper.
T. Finally, have the children write in their journals what they have learning about magnets (or this may be done some other time during the day)

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