Model NGSS Lessons: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade

Document Type

Teacher Resource

Grade Level

Grade Level: 3rd Grade

Publication Date


Background Information

Any moving electrical charge surrounds itself with a magnetic field. The electrons moving around within atoms are no exception. In most materials, the electrons are spinning and moving in random directions and their individual fields cancel out, leaving the material with no overall magnetic field. In some materials, however, the electrons can be organized so they all spin and move alike. Now their individual magnetic fields add together to produce an object with an obvious overall magnetic field.

Such an object, called a magnet, has a field with two poles, north and south. Like polls repel each other and opposite polls attract. These forces diminish in strength as the distance between the magnets increases.

Magnetic fields can affect the electron motion within certain metals, like iron and steel, causing them to become temporarily magnetic. Such materials are only attracted to magnets, not repelled. Other metals, such as aluminum, are not affected in this way. These properties can be used to make many useful devices.

Performance Expectations

3-PS2-3 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

Ask questions to determine the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.

3-PS2-4 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

Define a simple problem that can be solved by applying scientific ideas about magnets.



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