Iron filings and magnet

Essential Question:

How do we know there is magnetism?

Lesson Question:

Magnets can attract and can repel only certain things? Is all magnetism the same?
OBJECTIVE: Students will be able to identify a magnet as it attracts and also repels unders conditions of poles in a magnet.


Purpose is to explore the magnets at your lab site: follow the procedures and collect your observations for each procedure as completed.

Watch the introductory video Bill Nye science guy.
embedded on my wiki site. Elicit "Let's do this" discussion after the video.



  1. At your desk explore the various materials to convince the class that you have a good strong magnet . Explore how the magnets interact with all the materials in the kit.
  2. Classify which items are magnetic and which items are are not. Hang one magnet from a string at yoiur desk and slowly bring another magnet near to the hanger.
  3. 3.0 Record what observations occurred between the two , especially if you turned one magnet around a few times.
  4. Lay the two bar magnets on the table top and slowly move one toward the other. Write an observation into the discussion section of the wiki site. Did you get the same observation as others in class?
  5. Place a paper clip on a sheet of paper. Place a magnet below the sheet of paper can the magnetism interact through the paper? Try an interaction through the desk top or through you book and record the observations.
  6. Now obtain a compass from the supply area. Observe how the compass operates before going back to you desk. Ask someone how the compass needle knows where to point. You may already know if you are a boy scout or girl scout.

Lesson Experiences:

Can magnets influence all things in the kit or only certain metals? Can magnets force attract and repell when the poles are interchanged? Can magnets force interact from a distance? Could a hanging magnet become a compass some day?


Magnets can attract another magnet if poles are opposite, (North vs. South) Magnets can repel if poles are similiar
(South vs. south). Magnets are metal specific to iron, cobalt ,nickel. Magnets force field can interact from a distance such as in the compass.


Use the questions from ZOHO quiz maker on magnetism or develop a formative quiz online from past MCAS testing examples from the state.


Students will be able to...


Image Credit: Iron Filings by R. Simpson 3