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31 August 2014
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Ages 5 - 6 Ages 6 - 7 Ages 7 - 8
Ages 8 - 9 Ages 9 - 10 Ages 10 - 11

Science topics ages 7 - 8
Magnets and springs

Curriculum relevance | Online lesson plan
Offline lesson plan | Worksheet | Activity |

Offline lesson plan


Make and test predictions about whether materials are magnetic or not

Know that magnets attract some metals but not others and that other materials are not attracted to magnets

Use results to draw conclusions, indicating whether they were right in their prediction about which materials were magnetic

National Curriculum

England: Key Stage 2, Science, Sc1 2c, 2j; Sc4 2a

Wales: Key Stage 2, Physical processes 2.4

Northern Ireland: Key Stage 1, Materials, Properties, c

Scotland: 5-14 Guidelines, Science, Forces and their effects, Level B

Resources required

Copies of the Magnets and springs worksheet from the Science Clips website

Fridge magnet and other magnets

A number of sets of the metallic and non-metallic objects listed on the worksheet

A selection of other metallic and non-metallic objects

Teaching activities

Show the children a fridge magnet. Ask a child to walk around the class and try to 'stick' it onto different vertical surfaces. What do they notice? (It 'sticks' to some surfaces but not to others.) Show the children the magnet part of the fridge magnet, along with a selection of other magnets, and explain that magnetic force attracts some objects so it appears to 'stick', but that magnets do not attract all materials.

Demonstrate a material that is attracted to a magnet and explain that this is a magnetic material. Demonstrate a material that is not attracted to a magnet and explain that this is not magnetic or a non-magnetic material. Write 'magnetic' and 'non-magnetic' as headings on the board. Choose another material or object and ask the children to predict whether they think it will be magnetic or not? Test it and then write the name of the material or object under the correct heading on the board.

Divide children into groups. Give each group a copy of the worksheet, a magnet and a set of the objects listed on the worksheet. Ask each group to predict whether a material will be magnetic or not, and then test it. They should write their predictions and the results onto the worksheet. They should then sort their objects into two groups: those that are attracted by a magnet and those that are not.

With help from children, list on the board which objects were magnetic and which were non-magnetic. What do you notice about the materials that the magnetic objects were made from? (They are all metals.) Show the children another group of objects made from a selection of magnetic and non-magnetic materials. Ask the children to pick out the objects they can predict will definitely not be magnetic. How do they know this (they are not metals)? Test to check. Are all the metallic objects magnetic? Test to check. Elicit that some metals are magnetic and some are not.


Children test all materials with different shapes and sizes of magnets. Do they get the same results? What does this tell them?

Suggested homework

Ask children to find objects at home that use magnets (a compass, for example).


Resources for teachers

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