Physics in Primary Schools: Forces and Magnets 
Physics in Primary Schools: Forces and Magnets
by University of Sheffield / Gillian Gehring
Video Lecture 3 of 10
1 rating
Views: 3,187
Date Added: December 17, 2009

Lecture Description

Forces and Magnets: Magnet Magic

Supports National Curriculum, Key Stages 1 and 2, Units 1E and 6E (view Irish curriculum links)

Suitable for years 4, 5 and 6

The time for the session is about 1 hour (longer if items 12 and 15 are included). This can be varied by taking shorter paths through the material. Choices may depend on the apparatus available or the particular needs of the class.

Outline of content

Aims to:

* establish what the children already know, using an intriguing demonstration

* use a class experiment to find which materials are magnetic

* investigate bar magnets through class experiments to show repulsion as well as attraction

* discuss action at a distance, if appropriate compare with the force of gravity

* demonstrate that one end of a magnet always points North when freely suspended and that a compass is a suspended magnet

* use games to reinforce ideas about magnetic and non magnetic materials

* use a game to learn about computer memory

* demonstrate other magnetic effects which link with electric currents

* demonstrate a very simple motor to explain that a magnetic field together with an electric current can cause movement

* discuss up-to-date applications of motors by linking the children’s knowledge with their experience.

Points to note:

Please read the notes about safety and agree the assessment with the teacher before the session!

Cross References:

* The slides in the PowerPoint presentation are referenced in the table.

* As the presentation may be running throughout the session some simple slides provide a suitable background, alternatively switch to a black screen.

* Apparatus details are below the table and are linked to the relevant sections.

* Notes about safety are included with the actitivties

* Vocabulary: The presentation uses expressions included in the KS1 and 2 strategies

Misconceptions to be corrected:

* All metals are magnetic materials

* Magnets only attract

* Magnets only attract (and repel) through air

* Gravitational forces and magnetic forces due to the Earth are confused

* The physics that they learn is not relevant to their everyday lives.

Feedback from the trials:

"During the trial visits teachers commented that the children enjoyed the practical exercises the whole group took part enthusiastically".

Link to:

* Activities

* Apparatus List

* Safety Notes

* Forces and Magnets PowerPoint Presentation

* Download Overview, Activities, Apparatus List and Safety Notes as a combined Word document for ease of printing


Course Index

Course Description

This site is for physicists - to interest children in physics. The material covers topics suitable for use when visiting primary schools. A joint venture triggered by the Institute of Physics Women in Physics Group. Material is provided by a team from the University of Sheffield with EPSRC funding.


* to enthuse young children with the enjoyment and excitement of physics.

* to support the primary school teachers with the extensive Key Stage 1 and 2 science curricula involving numerous abstract concepts.


* Electricity

* Forces and Gravity

* Forces and Magnets

* Sound

* Solids

* Light

* Solids, Liquids and Gases

* Sunlight and Space Travel

* Forces and Springs

* Earth and Solar System

* Electricity Generation Part 1

* Electricity Generation Part 2

Young children love science and enjoy doing practical work, your scientific expertise will be greatly appreciated and the children will have lots of questions for you to answer. You may be surprised to find how much you enjoy it.

The Sheffield team: Professor Gillian Gehring, Professor David Mowbray, Dr Susan Cartwright, Dr Richard de Grijs, Dr David Lidzey, Ann Marks.


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