Outstanding Science | Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

Primary Science Resources for the National Curriculum

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KS2 - Year 3 Forces and magnets

Learning objective

I can investigate how magnetic forces act through different materials.

Children investigate which objects and materials will prevent a paperclip from being attracted to a magnet when placed between them. They attempt to identify the main material each object is made from. They use their results to complete a Venn diagram containing a single set. They attempt to explain their findings.

  • 3e2: notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance
Placing a surface between a magnet and an object may affect the object's attraction to the magnet.
A Venn diagram can be used to sort objects according to their properties.
The Venn diagram was invented by the English mathematician John Venn.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Magnets on different surfaces Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E001

Learning objective

I can investigate how magnets can make things move on different surfaces.

Children investigate how magnets can make objects move on different surfaces. They attach a metal paperclip to a book and investigate how placing it on different surfaces affects how easily a magnet can move it. They record their predictions and measurements in a table, and then transfer their results to a bar chart.

  • 3e1: compare how things move on different surfaces
Changing the surface on which a magnetic object is placed can affect how easily it moves towards a magnet.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Magnetism at a distance Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E002

Learning objective

I can investigate how magnetic forces act at a distance.

Children investigate how powerful 5 different magnets are. They predict and then measure the distance at which each magnet will attract a paperclip, recording their results in a table. They transfer their results to a bar chart and place the magnets in order of strength.

  • 3e2: notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance
Increasing the distance between a magnet and an object reduces the force between the magnet and the object.
Some magnets are more powerful than others.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Magnetic materials Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E004

Learning objective

I can investigate which materials are magnetic.

Children carry out an investigation to find out which classroom objects are magnetic. They consider what they are going to measure and how to make their test fair. Children predict and measure which classroom objects are magnetic. They transfer their results to a 2-dimensional Carroll diagram, showing both which objects were magnetic and which were made of metal. They attempt to find a pattern in their results.

  • 3e3: observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others
Some objects are attracted to objects, while others are not.
Objects can be sorted according to their properties using a Carroll diagram.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Magnetic metals Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E005

Learning objective

I can investigate which metals are magnetic.

Children investigate which metal classroom objects are also magnetic. They think about how they will make their test fair. Children place their results in a Venn diagram containing 2 overlapping sets, and think about in which of the 4 areas to place each result. They discuss the relationship between the type of metal an object is composed of and whether it is magnetic.

  • 3e3: observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others
Some metal objects are attracted to magnets, while others are not.
A Venn diagram can have more than one set and can sort objects with different combinations of properties.
Magnetic objects tend to contain iron or nickel.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Testing magnets Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E006

Learning objective

I can investigate which magnet is the most powerful.

Children carry out an investigation to test the strength of up to 10 magnets. They predict and then measure how many 1p coins they can place in a bag held by a paper clip attracted by the magnet before the bag and paper clip fall off. Children transfer their results to a bar chart and place the magnets in order of strength.

  • 3e4: compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials
Some magnets are more powerful than others.
A greater force is required to pull a magnetic object away from a stronger magnet.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Magnetic poles Investigation

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E007

Learning objective

I can investigate how magnets interact with one another.

Children investigate whether the poles from two magnets will attract or repel each other when brought together. They record their results in a 2-dimensional Carroll diagram.

  • 3e4: compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials
Magnets are made up of tiny magnetic particles which have all lined up in the same direction, producing a noticeable magnetic effect (field).
Magnets always contain two poles (north and south).
If a magnet is broken into two pieces, each piece will still have two poles.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science

Using magnets Worksheet

Outstanding Science Year 3 | Forces and magnets | OS3E008

Learning objective

I can describe the function of magnets in different situations.

Children learn about 5 different machines that use magnets (a maglev train, an MRI machine, a crane, a button magnet, and a compass) and match their images to their descriptions. For an added challenge, children write descriptions in their own words.

  • 3e5: describe magnets as having two poles
  • 3e6: predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.
Magnetic attraction and repulsion can be exploited to make useful machines.
Electromagnets can be much more powerful than permanent magnets.
Electromagnets can be created by passing an electrical current through a coil wrapped around a permanent magnet.
Electromagnets, unlike permanent magnets, can be turned on and off.
Year 3 Forces and magnets | Outstanding Science