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Electricity and Magnetism: Magnet

Students are exposed to magnets from a very young age. This activity has students sort items into what is magnetic and what isn’t, and then making their own magnet!


Part one:

Sort materials. Gather materials that will attract to a magnet and others that will not. Be sure to include things that may trick the students because of what the materials “look like”. Things that will be magnetic will be paper clips! Other things would be cloth, aluminum, wood, and copper.


Part two:

  1. Connect the generator to a light bulb and turn the crank.

When the generator is cranked, does the light come on

2. Connect the generator to the ends of the wire wrapped around the nail.

When the generator is cranked can you pick up the paperclips with the nails?

When the generator is stopped, do the paperclips stay on the nail?


Purpose: to understand how magnets work

Introduce: Have students walk around classroom with magnets and test what is attracted to the magnet

Difficulties: Thinking metal-like materials will be magnetic

Changes: Have students test magnets in their home

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