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Magnets and Forces

Lesson 1

We had our first magnets lesson today  (12th November 2018) and we started to think about how magnetism is a force. We then watched this video to help us understand that forces can push and pull. We then moved on to think about how magnets interact with each other.


For this we took two bar magnets and arranged them in different ways then observed how the magnets interact. We noticed that if you put a magnet's north and south pole together then the magnets will pull towards each other (or 'attract') and if you put the north and north or south and south poles together they will push away from each other (or 'repel'.) 


The particularly curious amongst us noticed that the magnets will still interact with each other even when they are not touching (e.g. through a table...) and we used that to discuss how magnetism is a non-contact force.


Lesson 2

In our second magnets lesson we were continuing to investigate how magnets interact, but with a particular focus on three key questions:

  • Where on a magnet is the force strongest?
    We investigated this by having the opposite poles of a magnet face each other in different ways and noticed that the ends of the magnet give off the strongest force. We knew this because the magnets would attract from further away if the two ends were facing each other. 
  • How far apart can the magnets be and still attract?
    Some people found that magnets would attract to each other from about 2cm away, while other children found that magnets will attract from even further. We talked about why these differences might be the case and decided that different magnets have different strengths, even if they're the same type of magnet!
  • What will the magnetic force pass through?
    Since we know that magnetism is a non-contact force, meaning the magnets don't need to be touching in order for the magnetic forces to act. We then investigated what items the magnetic force would travel through... you can see some of our findings in the pictures below!

Lesson 3

We had already started to take notice of our key topic for lesson 3 in previous lessons when we found that the magnets would be attracted to some things - like a hair clip, or the table leg - but not others. We thought that perhaps this was because magnets attract to metal. To test this theory Miss Savage brought in a few things from home, like metal spoons, coins, aluminium foil and rings. We investigated whether or not the magnets attracted to all of these items and found the following:


  • The magnet attracted to the coin, the paperclip and the spoon.
  • The magnet did not attract to the foil or the ring.


From this we concluded that only some metals are magnetic


Miss Savage told us that the following metals are magnetic:

  • iron;
  • nickel; and
  • cobalt. 

She then explained that the spoon and paperclips are made out of steel, which is an alloy containing iron and other metals. The coins are the same because the coins are made of a copper alloy containing nickel - so the nickel in the coins was attracted to the magnet, not the copper!

Lesson 4 - Web Quest

This week we are learning about how magnets are used in everyday life. There are three main ways, which we are learning about:

  • in maglev trains;
  • in compasses; and
  • in speedometers. 


Miss. Savage has set us a web quest so we can research and investigate these different items using the links below:


Maglev Trains

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4



Link 1

Link 2

Link 3


Speedometers also use magnets but in a much more complicated way!


"Pupils at Chambersbury Primary School receive a good quality of education. They know staff want them to do well." OFSTED, November 2022