Lesson Plan

The Force

Investigating Magnets and Materials
Denis K.
District 75 Special Education Science Instructional Coach
NYC Department Of Education
New York, United States
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My Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Math, Science

Students will explore properties of permanent magnets.

Use a magnet to detect objects made from iron.

Explore the force of magnetism through a variety of materials.


Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Communication Game

Activity: Conversing

1. Hold up a paper bag and tell students that you have an object inside it. Ask a student to reach into the bag without looking, feel the object,  and describe its characteristics.

2. When students have finished drawing as best they can, remove the object from the bag and show it to them. Let them compare their pictures to the object. Ask what other words would have helped to describe the object.

Student Instructions

1. Reach into the bag, without looking, and describe the characteristics of the object that you feel in such a way that other students can draw a picture of it.


2 What can the object do?

Activity: Exploring

1. Distribute a single magnet to each student. Ask what the object can do. When all the students have observed the sticking, tell them (or confirm) that the object behaves this way because it is a magnet.

2. Ask students to describe other magnets they have seen or played with. (Horseshoe, bar-shaped, big, small, strong, weak, etc.)


Student Instructions

1. Have students observe what the magnet can do. (Roll, sticks to some things).

3 Compare observations with experiments

1. Have Students explore Meet Science: Magnetism and Electricity resource and conduct the virtual experiments offered by the app.

2. Call on several students to share what stuck to their magnet. How the experiment using the app compare to real-life practice?

Student Instructions

1. After exploring the app, have students find out what their magnet will stick to without leaving their seats. (2 minutes).

2. Students share their conclusions and observations with each other.

4 Test Objects

Activity: Investigating

1. Hold up a bag of test objects (paper, aluminum foil, nail, wooden dowel, metal mesh, plastic square, penny, steel washer, rubber band, etc.)

2. Students will first guess which objects will stick to  magnet and which objects will not. 

Student Instructions

3. Students sort objects into two piles based on one pile of objects that the magnets stick to and a second pile for objects they think will not stick.

4. Students use their magnet to test the objects and check their guesses.

5 Discussion

Free, Paid

1. Discuss the results and put them up on padlet or google classroom apps.

2. Tell students that there is only one common kind of metal that magnets stick to. It is the metal iron. The rule is, if a magnet sticks to an object, that object is iron or steel.

3. Tell students that there might be objects in the classroom that are made of iron or steel. Their challenge is to find objects that are iron and to make a list of them.

5. Discuss the results after students have had time to explore;

What made you sure these objects were iron or steel?

Which objects you tested in the room surprised you?

Were there any objects you thought might be iron, but were not?

Did you find any steel that was hidden by paint or something else? How do you know?



Student Instructions

4. Students become iron detectors and have to find objects in the classroom that are iron or steel, making a list of them.