Key stage 2
Key stage 1
To know that there are forces between magnets and that magnets can attract (pull towards) and repel (push away from) each other.
Sc1, 2c, 2j; Sc4, 2ab.
- Online activities:
- Other resources:
- Pairs of bar magnets with ends labelled north and south
- Interactive whiteboard
You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to access the PDF files. BBC Webwise has a complete guide to downloading and installing Adobe Acrobat reader.
- Play the Bitesize magnets and springs quiz as a class on the interactive whiteboard.
- Bring up the Bitesize magnets and springs activity on the interactive whiteboard to recap on the children's knowledge of which materials are magnetic.
- Drag three objects (not the magnet) onto the virtual table and ask children to predict whether they will be attracted by the magnet. Ask the higher ability group to create a hypothesis with reasons. Use the activity to test if their hypothesis was right.
- Turn the magnet on the bar over and ask the children to make new predictions. Use the activity to test if they were right.
- Ask the children to predict the answer to the following question - Does it make any difference which end of the magnet you use to attract materials?.
- Drag the magnet onto the virtual table.
- Ask the children to predict what will happen when you place the magnet on the bar above it. Test if they were right.
- Turn the magnet on the bar around and ask the children to predict what they think will happen now. Take responses but do not test.
- Take a pair of real bar magnets and show the children that the magnets have two ends - one end is called south, the other end is called north.
- Put the two magnets on a table, 30 cm apart, with north and south facing each other.
- Draw the arrangement of magnets on the whiteboard and label the ends.
- Move one magnet closer to the other until they are attracted. Label the whiteboard drawing with arrows and words (including 'pull' and 'attract') describing what happened and the acting forces.
- Ask the children to get into pairs and repeat this task, and then try to push the two north ends together, followed by the two south ends.
- Ask the children to record their observations in labelled drawings.
- Ask the children what they observed.
- Explain that when the magnets jump apart the magnetic force pushes rather then pulls and the magnets repel each other.
- Ask the children to add these labels to their diagrams.
- Ask the children which ends repel each other and which ends attract each other.
- Return to the Bitesize magnets and springs activity. Does anybody want to change their prediction? Test with the activity.
- Ask the children what they know about the two ends of the magnet in the activity? (They are either both souths or both norths).
- Ask the children to get into pairs and create their own three-question quiz to play with their classmates to reinforce learning.
- Do the children think a pair of large bar magnets will be attracted or repelled from a further distance than a small pair?
- Ask the children to predict the result and then to test their prediction, using a ruler to measure the results.
- Alternatively, ask the children to complete the Magnets and springs worksheet (PDF 61KB).
Ask the children to create a rap that explains the key learning from the lesson and includes key scientific vocabulary such as 'attract', 'repel' and so on.