Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Where Is the Magnetism?

Jeri Martin


How does a magnet lose its magnetism? Students become familiar with magnetic domains and their influence on the magnetism of a magnet.


The student recognizes the forces that act on a given object.


-1 Rectangular jewelry gift box per group of 2-3 students
-1 Rubber band per group
-1 Red Vis--Vis marker per group
-8 Small Tootsie Rolls per group of 2-3 students
-1 Meter stick per group
-1 Blank sheet of paper per group
-Student copies of Magnetic Domains Lab (See Associated File)
-Student copies of Magnetic Forces KWL Chart (See Associated File)
-Student copies of Magnetism Rubrics (See Associated File)


1. Make copies of the Magnetic Domains Lab, Magnetic Forces KWL Chart and Magnetism Rubrics for each of your students. (See Associated File)
2. Obtain 10 to 15 rectangular jewelry gift boxes. (If you have done the Beacon Lesson on How Dense Are You? then you have these boxes.) You can obtain these boxes if you go to a major department store and tell them you are a teacher and you need the boxes for a lab activity. You could also take a letter stating that you are a teacher and you need the materials. If you cannot find a department store to donate them, have students bring empty rectangular jewelry gift boxes for the day of the activity.
3. Gather other supplies listed in Materials. To save time, have the small items needed for the lab together in a closeable, plastic bag.


1. Give each student a copy of the Magnetism Rubrics (See Associated File) and provide a short explanation of the purpose of the lesson. Include the fact that students will be formatively assessed on working cooperatively. Explain that even though this lesson is on magnetism, safety rules must be followed and students must work together to achieve the information.

2. Give each student a copy of the Magnetic Forces KWL Chart. (See Associated File)

3. Discuss with the students the K (what do you KNOW) and W (what do you WANT to know) from the chart as they apply to this lesson. Ask students to complete the K and W parts. Collect and hold. The L (what did you LEARN) will be completed at the end of this activity.

4. Distribute the Magnetic Domains Lab activity sheet. (See Associated File) Review the procedures with students. Divide students into groups of 3 or 4. Ask if there are any questions. Direct students how to pick up the needed materials for their group. Allow time for students to complete the lab and record their data.

5. Pull students back together to compare and discuss the results of the labs. Use the questions to discuss and teach/reteach the forces (poles) that are acting on the object (magnet).


Mark the Magnetism Rubrics (See Associated File) for each student as students go through this activity. Return the Magnetic Forces KWL Chart to students and ask them to complete the L part. The Magnetic Forces KWL Chart and Magnetic Domains Lab data and questions will be collected and assessed. Students will need additional feedback/practice to recognize the forces that act on a given object since this lesson only covers magnetism.


The Magnetic Domains Lab (See Associated File) can be extended by surveying the students to see when their magnets (box with Tootsie Rolls) were no longer magnetized. This survey will come from the Yes/No questions at the end of the lab. Students will graph the results. (The students will need graph paper if you decide to have them graph their results.)

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