Engage (10  15 minutes):
 Show students four ring magnets on a pencil with opposite poles together so the magnets stick together. Then flip the magnets so like poles are together and the magnets seem to defy gravity.
 Give students "The Mystery of the Floating Magnets" handout or direct students to take notes in their science journals to describe what happened and why they think it happened. Have partners discuss their thoughts. As students discuss the magnets, circulate to informally assess students’ previous knowledge about magnets. Have partners share their ideas with the class and add terms to a vocabulary chart as needed (poles, attract, repel, etc.)
Explore (15  20 minutes):
Have students work with a partner to explore magnets. Give each set of partners two magnets, 20  30 paper clips, and a piece of thread. (Have additional paper clips available as needed.) Challenge partners to figure out how to do the following:
 Use one magnet to move the other magnet without touching it.
 Figure out which magnet is stronger. (Have students count the maximum number of paper clips each magnet can pick up and record this information in their notebooks as evidence. You may also want students to graph this information.)
 Make a paper clip jump off the table without touching it.
 Make a paper clip or magnet defy gravity. (Let students struggle to figure this out for themselves, but if they need a hint, show “Defying Gravity” video.)
As students explore the magnets, have them fill in the chart at the bottom of the "The Mystery of the Floating Magnets" handout or create a chart of their own in their notebooks.
How Magnets Work

New Things I Learned About Magnets

Important Vocabulary

Remind students to explain their findings using terms such as poles, attract, repel, and force. Encourage students to record new terms and definitions from the class vocabulary chart.
Have students work in groups of 24 to brainstorm a list of ways magnets are used in our daily lives. (Use chart at the bottom of the handout or have students create their own charts in their notebooks.)
Problem

Solution

Example: Need to hold pictures on refrigerator

Refrigerator magnets



Ask probing questions:
 Other than holding things on the refrigerator, how can the attracting force of magnets be used?
 How can the repelling force be used?
 How are the problems and solutions related?
 What are other ways the problems could be solved?
 After the brainstorming, have each group select an idea they think is unique from the other groups and write their idea on the class chart.
Explain (20 – 30 minutes):
 Watch “Magnetism for Kids” video or draw diagram showing what happens when different poles of the magnet are placed next to each other. Discuss evidence of polarity students encountered in their explorations.
 Watch video clips about uses of magnets (National Geographic “Magnets as Brakes” video and How Stuff Works “How Maglev Trains Work” video). Add uses of magnets to class chart. You may also choose to watch the YouTube video “How to Create Your Own Levitation Device.” (You can try to get students to make their own levitation device, but as he explains in the video, it is harder than it looks. Magnets must be very strong and the placement must be exact for this device to work.)
 Distribute "Using the Engineering Design Process" handout.
Please note that the red italics print is for teacher information only; this text should be deleted before copying the handout for students.
 Begin brainstorming a list of problems that could be solved by holding things together or keeping them separated with the whole class. This is the first step in the engineering design process. Ask, “What is the problem?” Your constraints are that you must use magnets and classroom materials to solve the problem. You may want to start with examples already present in the classroom, such as magnets holding classroom doors shut or holding papers onto a filing cabinet. Once students have the idea, have them continue brainstorming to generate ideas for their inventions.
 Explain the Engineering Design Process by discussing the five steps on the handout. Depending on the students' familiarity with this process, students may be ready to complete the process on their own, or you may need to walk them through each step.
Elaborate (20 – 25 minutes): Students will create an invention that uses magnets to solve one of their brainstormed problems.
 Introduce the materials available to construct their devices. You may choose to download and use the list from the STEM Challenge Freebie on TPT, or you can make your own list on the board. For an additional challenge, you can assign "prices" to each material and give students a budget for purchasing their materials. This would be an additional constraint to be addressed in the first step of the Engineering Design Process.
 After the students have identified a problem and have had some time to explore the materials, they will brainstorm possible solutions and pick the best one. Some students may need help with strategies coming to a group decision (voting, rockpaperscissors, etc.).
 The next step is the planning phase. Have students sketch ideas in their science notebooks to decide what materials will be needed and how the magnets will be used within their invention.
 Groups will collect materials based on their plan and build their devices. Then they will test to see if the device works as planned.
 If the device does not work, students will need to revise their designs to try an alternate solution. If the device does work as planned, students may try to improve their design by increasing the size or scope of their invention.
Engage (10  15 minutes):
 Show students four ring magnets on a pencil with opposite poles together so the magnets stick together. Then flip the magnets so like poles are together and the magnets seem to defy gravity.
 Give students "The Mystery of the Floating Magnets" handout or direct students to take notes in their science journals to describe what happened and why they think it happened. Have partners discuss their thoughts. As students discuss the magnets, circulate to informally assess students’ previous knowledge about magnets. Have partners share their ideas with the class and add terms to a vocabulary chart as needed (poles, attract, repel, etc.)
Explore (15  20 minutes):
Have students work with a partner to explore magnets. Give each set of partners two magnets, 20  30 paper clips, and a piece of thread. (Have additional paper clips available as needed.) Challenge partners to figure out how to do the following:
 Use one magnet to move the other magnet without touching it.
 Figure out which magnet is stronger. (Have students count the maximum number of paper clips each magnet can pick up and record this information in their notebooks as evidence. You may also want students to graph this information.)
 Make a paper clip jump off the table without touching it.
 Make a paper clip or magnet defy gravity. (Let students struggle to figure this out for themselves, but if they need a hint, show “Defying Gravity” video.)
As students explore the magnets, have them fill in the chart at the bottom of the "The Mystery of the Floating Magnets" handout or create a chart of their own in their notebooks.
How Magnets Work

New Things I Learned About Magnets

Important Vocabulary

Remind students to explain their findings using terms such as poles, attract, repel, and force. Encourage students to record new terms and definitions from the class vocabulary chart.
Have students work in groups of 24 to brainstorm a list of ways magnets are used in our daily lives. (Use chart at the bottom of the handout or have students create their own charts in their notebooks.)
Problem

Solution

Example: Need to hold pictures on refrigerator

Refrigerator magnets



Ask probing questions:
 Other than holding things on the refrigerator, how can the attracting force of magnets be used?
 How can the repelling force be used?
 How are the problems and solutions related?
 What are other ways the problems could be solved?
 After the brainstorming, have each group select an idea they think is unique from the other groups and write their idea on the class chart.
Explain (20 – 30 minutes):
 Watch “Magnetism for Kids” video or draw diagram showing what happens when different poles of the magnet are placed next to each other. Discuss evidence of polarity students encountered in their explorations.
 Watch video clips about uses of magnets (National Geographic “Magnets as Brakes” video and How Stuff Works “How Maglev Trains Work” video). Add uses of magnets to class chart. You may also choose to watch the YouTube video “How to Create Your Own Levitation Device.” (You can try to get students to make their own levitation device, but as he explains in the video, it is harder than it looks. Magnets must be very strong and the placement must be exact for this device to work.)
 Distribute "Using the Engineering Design Process" handout.
Please note that the red italics print is for teacher information only; this text should be deleted before copying the handout for students.
 Begin brainstorming a list of problems that could be solved by holding things together or keeping them separated with the whole class. This is the first step in the engineering design process. Ask, “What is the problem?” Your constraints are that you must use magnets and classroom materials to solve the problem. You may want to start with examples already present in the classroom, such as magnets holding classroom doors shut or holding papers onto a filing cabinet. Once students have the idea, have them continue brainstorming to generate ideas for their inventions.
 Explain the Engineering Design Process by discussing the five steps on the handout. Depending on the students' familiarity with this process, students may be ready to complete the process on their own, or you may need to walk them through each step.
Elaborate (20 – 25 minutes): Students will create an invention that uses magnets to solve one of their brainstormed problems.
 Introduce the materials available to construct their devices. You may choose to download and use the list from the STEM Challenge Freebie on TPT, or you can make your own list on the board. For an additional challenge, you can assign "prices" to each material and give students a budget for purchasing their materials. This would be an additional constraint to be addressed in the first step of the Engineering Design Process.
 After the students have identified a problem and have had some time to explore the materials, they will brainstorm possible solutions and pick the best one. Some students may need help with strategies coming to a group decision (voting, rockpaperscissors, etc.).
 The next step is the planning phase. Have students sketch ideas in their science notebooks to decide what materials will be needed and how the magnets will be used within their invention.
 Groups will collect materials based on their plan and build their devices. Then they will test to see if the device works as planned.
 If the device does not work, students will need to revise their designs to try an alternate solution. If the device does work as planned, students may try to improve their design by increasing the size or scope of their invention.