Overview of Section Resources

Section 1: What Sticks to a Magnet?
Students begin their study of magnets by testing a wide variety of objects to see which are attracted by magnets. They conclude that only metal objects stick to magnets, but not all metals. Students then test the ability of magnetic force to go through objects. They see that magnetic force can move through thin objects such as paper, but not through thick objects such as books.
Section 2: Magnet Strength
Students compare the strength of four different magnets by seeing how many iron nails each magnet can pick up. Then they experiment with a bar magnet and see that most paper clips picked up by the magnet stick to its two ends. Students learn that all magnets have two poles and that the strength of a magnet is greatest at its poles.
Section 3: Making a Magnet
In this section, students use a permanent magnet to turn an iron nail into a temporary magnet. They see that the nail remains a magnet for a short time after the permanent magnet is removed, but that striking the nail against a hard surface returns the nail to its non-magnet status. In a kinesthetic exercise, students use their bodies to model the concept of pole alignment in magnets.
Section 4: Magnets Push and Pull
Students experiment with pairs of magnets and discover that sometimes the magnets attract and other times they repel. Then, working with labeled magnets, students learn that like poles repel and unlike poles attract. Finally, students apply their understanding of pole interaction to make a series of ring magnets threaded onto a pencil “float.”