Are you working on a magnetism lesson with your class? This simple physics lesson is one that can be a lot of fun for elementary students — especially as they can see a bit of magic happen right before their eyes as the poles of magnets actively repel one another … or they get to see magnets suddenly fly through the air toward each other! Is there anything as cool as invisible forces at work in the atmosphere?
The motion of electric charges is one of those “visual magic” moments we love, and we’ve put together a few of our favorite magnetism activities for elementary students to practice in your classroom!
How Do You Teach Kids Magnetism?
When it comes to teaching magnetism, having magnets handy is really the best way to go. This is the sort of science lesson that is only as good as the visual, and the visual is so much fun!
Of course, you’ll want to go over some of the basic vocabulary:
- Magnet: An item that can pull certain types of metal toward itself.
- Magnetism: The force of magnets.
- Magnetic Force: An attractive or repulsive force that is exerted between the poles of a magnet and electrically charged moving particles.
Fun Magnetism Activities for Elementary Students
Magnet fishing is a big hit with kids when you’re teaching magnetism, and this activity is relatively simple to put together.
To make the magnet picture you’ll need:
- Thick cardboard and paper
- A magnet
- Metal paperclip
- Cut a blue piece of paper to look like waves.
- Cut out small fish.
- Place a paperclip on each of your fish
- Place the magnet on the back side of your paper, and move the fish around in the water by moving the magnet on the reverse side of the paper!
Escape the Dinosaur
What do you do when a hungry t-rex is on the loose in your town? You better get out of there … and that’s the fun of the Escape the Dinosaur magnetism activity! Print these Dinosaur tracing sheets, and provide one to each student in your class, along with a metal paperclip, and a magnet.
Students draw small paper versions of themselves, add a paperclip, and then run the magnet along the back of the paper to move their mini-mes over the line from the dinosaur to safety!
Another twist on fishing in the classroom is to use the trusty paperclip and magnets on a string to help students pick new books in the school library … while learning all about how magnets attract metal.
We used our “get hooked on a book” resource to make this fun activity.
Check out a fun way to use magnets to teach place value or these other magnetism teaching resources!
A sorting activity to help students identify actions that use push and pull.
A simple, hands-on investigation which allows students to explore magnets and magnetism.
A group of worksheets to use when reviewing common forces.