Lesson Plan

Grade Level:

High School

State Standards:

Recognize the characteristics of static charge, and explain how a static charge is generated.
Interpret and apply Coulomb's law.
Explain the difference in concept between electric forces and electric fields.
Develop a qualitative and quantitative understanding of current, voltage, resistance, and the connection between them.

Essential Question:

Lesson Question:

How can I make an electromagnet stronger?


Magnets and electricity are directly correlated. Students will discover this an not only practice with an online simulation but will also have an opportunity to explore and engage in a hand on building of an electromagnet. They will be asked to record their electromagnet when it gets working and to graph their results. Students will post videos and results on our wiki page to show other students.


  1. Watch the following video on electricity

  2. Students will participate in a web based activity. There are two parts to the activity.
    1. Students will see how a magnet can change the compasses direction. They will explore what this means and what might be inside a compass that causes its directions to change when placed near a magnet.
    2. Students will notice how a light bulb is affect by the movement of a magnet near it.

  3. Students will take an online electromagnet quiz

  4. Students will build an electromagnet.
    Inquiry Based Investigation- Making a stronger electromagnet

    This activity will provide a hands on instructional demonstration on how magnets and electricity are related and how available materials can create a stronger electromagnet.

    Your goal is to investigate what makes an electromagnet stronger. You can experiment with wire length, wire thickness, battery size etc.


    • 1 Base (materials will vary)
    • Washers (1 cm in diameter)
    • Graph paper and handout
    • D-cell battery (unless the inquiry is battery size)
    • Cell holder (more than one will be needed if the inquiry is battery amount)
    • Wire of varying length and thickness
    • Paperclips, nails or other metal objects
    • magnets

    You will be conducting a controlled experiment on electromagnets. Make sure that only one variable is being changed at a time to ensure reliability of experiment.

    OBSERVE the materials that your group has access to.

    THINK about how these materials could be used to make your electromagnet stronger.
    A sample question might be, "How does the thickness of a wire affect the strength of the electromagnet?"

    You will RECORD your results on the X and Y-axis of your graph. Make sure to clearly label your independent and dependent variables and to title your graph (see attachment).

    COLLECT your materials needed for the inquiry and begin your investigation. Make sure to collect and document your data.

    When finished, write your CONCLUSIONS as a group. If any group finishes early, you may examine another variable that you would like to investigate.

    Finally, groups will PRESENT (or the reporter from each group) their findings to the entire class.
    Group students in groups of 2-4 depending on class size. Designate roles such as recorder, gatherer, etc.

    We will discuss what we all think will cause the electromagnet to become stronger in the beginning as a brainstorming activity. We will then revisit these hypothesis after and see how correct or incorrect we all were. We will also tie in the original online simulation done at the beginning of the lesson.

    WEB 2.0

    • Online simulation done at beginning of lesson.
    • Have students use cameras, videos or web cams to video their electromagnets. These will then be put online with their results.
    • Graphing of results via excel and or power point presentation for advanced students.

    The final assessment will be for students to add their results to our class wiki page so all students can see results of each manipulation of the electromagnet. Also students will need to come up with one real world application for an electromagnet or create a product in which an electromagnet would greatly assist.

  5. Students will record their results, graph their results and post their final findings on our wiki

Lesson Experiences:

Students will participate in many activities that will lead them to discovering if magnets and electricity are connected and how they interact with each other.


By the end of this lesson students will have had 3 opportunities to see how electricity and magnetism are related and how we use electromagnets in our everyday life.


Students will be assessed on classwork and group work, online quiz, their black box presentation and their final investigation (video, graphs and posting.)