Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Magnetism in Action

Lisa Locklin
Santa Rosa District Schools


The students recognize that magnetic force can act through a distance.


The student knows that many forces (e.g., gravitational, electrical, and magnetic) act at a distance (e.g., without contact).


- Textbook, Physical Science --Containing a section on magnetic force.
- Copies of the lab activity worksheet.
- Bar Magnets (one for each group)
- Paper Clips
- Thread
- Sheet of paper
- Sheet of glass (8x10 or 5x7 picture glass)
- Corrugated Paper
- Tin Can Lid
- Phonograph Record
- Quarter
- Nickel
- Dime
- Penny
- Washer
- Video -Understanding Magnetism- - Discovery Channel School (optional)


The teacher should familiarize himself or herself with the material in the textbook that covers magnetic devices. Review the -Lab Activity Worksheet- and make enough copies for the groups. Gather materials needed for the lab. Review the video for showing either prior to or after the activity (optional).


Note: This lesson deals with magnetic forces only.
1. Stimulate Prior Knowledge: Discuss with the students the characteristics of magnets and magnetic fields. You may want to ask the following questions:
What does magnetic mean to you?
Have you ever seen a material that is naturally magnetic?
Do magnets have properties of attraction and repulsion?
How are the poles of a magnet related to the magnetic fields?

2. Introduce the Lab Activity: Divide the class into groups of two. Hand out the lab activity worksheet. Review the procedure with the students.

3. Lab: Ask the students to work in pairs to complete the lab activity. Students should collect and record data under the -Data Table- section of the worksheet.

4. Reviewing Concepts: After the students have completed the activity, ask them to complete the section of the lab activitiy worksheet labeled -Analyzing and Drawing Conclusions.-

5. Review: When the students have completed the lab, have them discuss their observations and answers to the analyzing and drawing conclusions questions.


Assess the concepts taught in this lesson by using the students' work on the attached Lab Activity Worksheet. Students may need corrective and defining feedback and additional practice or instruction before summatively assessing on this concept.


Have a guest speaker discuss the process and procedure for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
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