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A Magnetic Personality
Lesson Objective
The student will investigate how many paper clips different types of magnets can pick up.
Background Information for Teacher
Make sure to include some large magnets that are relatively weak and some small magnets that have a relatively strong magnetic
Student Prior Knowledge
Examples of different types of chains (Ex: from a swing, automobile chain, necklace, paper chain, paper clip chain, etc.)
Several different shaped magnets
15-20 small paper clips
Science Journal (Optional)
Step-by-Step Guided Lesson
Step 1: Start Video
(Tips: Interact with the video by pausing, to ask questions or discuss information viewed with student.)
Step 2: Teach Lesson
Magnet strength is related to the composition of the magnet - not the size. The relative strength of a magnet can be determined by
counting the number of iron nails or paper clips that it will pick up and comparing it with the number that another magnet will pick up.
Help the student understand the concept of "chain" by showing one or more different kinds of chains and explaining that they are
linked together in some way. You might use a piece of chain from a swing, automobile chain, necklace, paper chain (such as those
made at Christmas), and/or paper clip chain that has been fastened together.
Explain that magnetism can be used to hold some objects together in a chain.
Demonstrate how to use a magnet to pick up one paper clip and then show how the magnet can hold one or more additional paper
clips in a "chain" as you carefully pick up or place a paper clip at the end of the one before.
Allow the student time to examine all the different types of magnets available.
Ask the student to predict which magnet will pick up the most paper clips and why. Have them record their prediction and reason in
their Science Journal.
Give the student one or more magnets to test by making a paper clip chain with each magnet.
Ask the student to record the number of paper clips different magnets pick up in a chain in their Science Journals.
Once the student has finished experimenting, compare individual results.
You may choose to make a graph of the overall average and compare the results with the predictions recorded earlier.
Discuss the results. How many paper clips did the strongest magnet pick up? Did predictions match test results? Was the biggest
magnet the strongest magnet?
The student should conclude that the strength of the magnet is not necessarily related to the size of the magnet.
Follow the lesson with a Magnet Scavenger Hunt: Give your child a small magnet and have him or her go on a scavenger hunt to find
magnetic objects around the home. He or she can collect the items into a group, draw pictures of each object, take a photo, or video
the magnet at work.
Step 3: Complete the worksheet attached below.
Step 4: Start the next lesson with the game or activity attached below for review so the student can
demonstrate understanding of this lesson before moving forward.
Magnets (online) game