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Materials and How They Interact with Magnets

Materials and How They Interact with Magnets

TEKS Objective

The student will explore interactions between magnets and various materials.

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Essential Understanding

The student knows that energy, force, and motion are related and are a part of their everyday life.

Science Background

Teaching About Magnetism: Lab for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA (website) - Transcribed presentation on the basics of magnetism by David P. Stern, Emeritus at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Teaching About Magnetism
Lab for Extraterrestrial Physics, NASA ,


Signature Lesson

Investigate Magnetic Attraction: (website) - Students predict and learn about what magnets do and do not do by testing the interaction of refrigerator magnets with various materials.

Investigate Magnetic Attraction
by Latrenda Knighten,

Supporting Lessons

Magnetic Art: Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow (website) - Students learn about magnetism while participating in an art activity. Scroll down to the “Magnetic Art” lesson.

Magnetic Art
Gayle’s Preschool Rainbow,

Make a Magnet Map: (website) - Students create maps of their homes and use magnets to move pictures of their family members through their “houses” in this demonstration of a magnet’s attraction to metal.

Make a Magnet Map
by Jennifer Gregory,

Magnet Attraction: Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (website) - Investigate magnets and what they attract.

Magnet Attraction
Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Have a Magnet Marathon! (website) - Set up your own “magnet races” to explore with kindergarteners the properties and power behind magnets.

Have a Magnet Marathon!
by Victoria Hoffman,

Investigating with Magnets: Attraction and Repelling: Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (website) – Explore magnetic attraction and repelling due to placement of the poles of the magnet.

Investigating with Magnets: Attraction and Repelling:
Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project


Assessment Ideas

Give each student a bag containing four metal objects that are attracted to a magnet and four non-metallic objects that are not attracted to a magnet. Ask students to predict if each object will be attracted to a magnet, and to record their predictions. Then, give all students a magnet. Have them test their predictions and record the outcomes of their investigation.

Literature Connections

What Makes a Magnet? Branley, Franklyn. (ISBN-13: 978-0060264413)

Magnetism: A Question and Answer Book. Richardson, A. (ISBN-13: 978-0736854443)

What Magnets Can Do. Fowler, Allan (ISBN-13: 9780516460345)

Magnets Pulling Together, Pushing Apart. Rosinsky, Natalie (ISBN-13: 9781404803336)

Related Science TEKS

(K.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(K.2B) Plan and Conduct Descriptive Investigations
The student is expected to plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move.

(K.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(K.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(K.2E) Communicate Observations
The student is expected to communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations.

(K.4A) Tools for Collecting Information
The student is expected to collect information using tools, including computers, hand lenses, primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks; and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

(K.4B) Five Senses
The student is expected to use senses as a tool of observation to identify properties and patterns of organisms, objects, and events in the environment.

Related Math TEKS

K.2A    The student is expected to use language such as before or after to describe relative position in a sequence of events or objects.

K.2B    The student is expected to name the ordinal positions in a sequence such as first, second, third, etc. for objects through the tenth position.

K.5A    The student is expected to identify, extend, create, and describe patterns of sounds, physical movement, and concrete objects.

K.7B    The student is expected to place an object in a specified position.

K.8B    The student is expected to compare two objects based on their attributes.

K.9A    The student is expected to describe and compare the attributes of real-life objects such as balls, boxes, cans, and cones or models of three-dimensional geometric figures.

K.13B  The student is expected to solve problems with guidance that incorporates the processes of understanding the problem, making a plan, carrying out the plan, and evaluating the solution for reasonableness.

K.13D  The student is expected to use tools such as real objects, manipulatives, and technology to solve problems.

K.15A  The student is expected to justify his or her thinking using objects, words, pictures, numbers, and technology.

Additional Resources

Magnets and Springs: Crickweb (website) - In this interactive game for primary schools, students test various objects to see if they are attracted to a magnet. Scroll down to the “Magnets and Springs” activity.

Magnets and Springs

Magnets and Heat: The NEED Project (PDF) - Students seek to answer the question, “Does temperature affect the force of a magnet?”

Magnets and Heat
The NEED Project,

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