Fun with Magnets

Resource Info

Basic Information

The interesting nature of magnets attracts everyone, from playing with magnets for fun to using appliances with magnets, we find them everywhere around us. Our students usually have some experience around magnets, here is a lesson plan which can guide them through the nature and properties of magnets including their uses.

Lesson plan Details

04 hours 20 mins

Here is a lesson plan on the chapter "Fun with Magnets" for sixth standard students. I am also attaching my day to day reflections alongside.


Objectives – To develop the following skills in the students.
•    Observation: magnetic effects.
•    Classification: magnetic and non-magnetic substances.
•    Experimentation.

(Children by this time are familiar with some magnetic behaviour through toys, magnetic stick etc., magnets are interesting to play with.)


Day 1

Drawing upon the student’s previous knowledge and experiences with magnets the story of discovery of magnets will be shared with the students. Natural and artificial magnets will be discussed through the story.

Q- Have you ever come across a rock like Magnus did?
Q- If yes, where did you find it?
Q- Where have you seen magnets in your surroundings? For, what purposes are they being used?
Q- Let’s list some magnets around us.

Natural Magnets  and  Artificial Magnets

The day went as planned. I started by taking the students back to a previous lesson where they studied about magnetic materials. They mentioned various things that they find magnet in like fridge, Televisions, doors, etc. Following this I drew their attention to the story of magnet. The story works excellent in the class as the students seem to be really interested and listen quietly. Through the story I told them about artificial and natural magnets and different types of magnets based on their shape drawing examples from what they had quoted before and by showing them a Horseshoe magnet, a bar magnet and a cylindrical magnet.

The students started testing the magnet by bringing them near the objects available to them in their bags. The students also noticed that the things are only getting attracted to the poles and not in between.
Following the story, I asked them to make a list of artificial magnets and natural magnets in their notebooks. Some students had difficulty in listing as they were searching for the answers in the book. I had to quote some examples to make them understand. To my surprise, they quoted various examples that I didn’t know about.


1) Handling the materials- since the magnets were very few in comparison to class strength, the students started fighting over them as one person refused to pass. This was handled by giving some instructions about passing the materials to other students too.
2) The students quoted some examples that I was not quite prepared about as I was unaware. E.g., presence of magnet in earphones and many audio systems. Which, I had to read later after the class. I told them that I am not quite certain about those and will get back to them later on this.

Day 2

Activity 1: Magnet Walk

The students will go out in the school premises/ground with a stick on which a magnet is attached and would be asked to collect objects of day to day use using the magnet sticks. The students can touch the objects with the magnet sticks and observe if the magnet sticks or not and record their observations in a table:

Name of the Object Material which the object is made of (cloth/plastic/iron/aluminium/wood/glass, etc.) Attracted by magnet stick/ magnet (yes/no)
Iron nail Iron Yes
Scale Plastic No


Building upon the activity done the previous day the students will be asked the following questions-

Q - Did all the materials stick to the magnet stick?
Q - Is there anything common in all the objects that were attracted to magnets?
Q - What are the materials which got attracted to magnets?

The Magnetic and Non-magnetic materials will be discussed with the students.


The walk could not happen so we decided to try the same activity in the class. Groups were made constituting 5 students each and they were asked to touch the magnet with 
Different materials that are available to them in the classroom. They did and recorded the observations side by side. At first, the students were only touching the metal objects as they had a concept of magnet in mind. When, I asked them to check on other things too they did so and were surprised to find out that certain points on the wooden table are also getting attracted (which were the areas with the nails). After the activity, we went as per the plan, which went smooth and the magnetic and non-magnetic materials were discussed.

Day 3

We saw in the previous class that on the basis of their magnetic properties there are two types of materials- magnetic and non-magnetic.

Have you ever wondered if soil is magnetic or non-magnetic? Let’s find out.


Rub a magnet in the sand or soil. Pull out the magnet.

Q - Are there some particles of sand or soil sticking to the magnet?Now, gently shake the magnet to remove the particles of sand or soil.
Q - Are some particles still sticking to it?
Q- What do you think these particles may be?

These particles can be iron fillings. This activity can be done to find out if the soil nearby contains particle that have iron or not.


Spread some iron filings on a sheet of paper. Now, place a bar magnet on this sheet. Observe.

Q - What do you observe?
Q - Do the iron filings spread all across the magnet?
Q - Are there some areas on the magnet where the fillings get more attracted as compared to the other areas?

Repeat the activity again by removing the fillings. Is there a change of pattern? The activity will then be done by using different magnetic things such as pins/nails etc. and the pattern will be observed. Draw the diagram of iron fillings sticking to the magnet.

The poles of the magnet will be then discussed. We will try to find poles of different magnets of different shapes and try to find their poles.


Let the students combine a few small magnets; join N-S poles of small magnets together to form a big magnet and find where the iron powder concentrates on the combined magnet?

Q - Does the iron powder/fillings spread all across? 
Q - Were the fillings more at some places than others? If yes which were those places?

(The fillings accumulate at the ends.)

Break this combination (dismantle) to separate them back into smaller magnets, Now, repeat the same activity with these individual magnets?

Q - What do you observe? Are the fillings still showing the same pattern or has it changed?


Each magnet will again behave like an independent magnet having two regions of highest polarity. Each magnet will again behave like an independent magnet having two regions of highest magnetic strength – the poles. A magnet has two poles, and if it gets broken in two pieces, each piece would again have two poles. Breaking a magnet into two pieces to show this may not be practical but this activity can be used to demonstrate it.


For the first activity, that is, rubbing the magnet with sand; we went out in the ground and checked if there were any iron particles on the magnet. We found out that there were no iron fillings on the magnet. Thus, we concluded that the soil around our school does not contain iron particles.

The second activity was carried out as planned and went quite smoothly and we had sufficient number of material required of the activity. One minor challenge that we faced was that the edges of the bar magnets were not as sharp and on joining the two magnets, some filings also got attracted to the point where the two magnets met. To clarify this, I showed the students a video of the same experiment with better magnets. The discussion, then went as planned.

Day 4:


Take a bar magnet. Put a mark on one of its ends for identification. Now, tie a thread at the middle of the magnet so that you may suspend it from a wooden stand. Make sure that the magnet can rotate freely. Let it come to rest. Mark two points on the ground to show the position of the ends of the magnet when it comes to rest. Draw a line joining the two points. Now rotate the magnet again and let it come to rest.

Q - Does the magnet now point in a different direction?

Repeat the activity with different objects other than magnets like scale, wood, iron bar etc.

Q - What did you observe?
Q - Do all the other materials always come to rest in different directions?
Q - Why do you think the wooden stand was used? Can we use an iron stand instead?


We find that a freely suspended bar magnet always comes to rest in a particular direction. Which is the north and the south direction. Which is pole is facing which direction can be found out by figuring out the directions by taking the position of the sun into account. We will thus identify the north and the south pole of the magnet.


I made groups of four students each and gave a thread and a magnet to each of the group and asked them to do the activity multiple times in the group and record their observations. To half of the groups, I gave a bar magnet and to other I gave a circular magnetite. And asked them to record their observations. All the magnets pointed in the same direction always, no matter which type of magnet was used.
With this activity, and also recalling the previous activity where the iron fillings got arracted towards the poles of the magnet. We discussed the two poles of the magnet and how the magnet always points towards the north and the south pole of the earth and how one can determine the position of the poles using the magnet.

Day 5

Make your own compass - We will magnetise needles using bar magnets and all pins. By rubbing magnet on the needle in a particular way would magnetise the needle.                                

Magnetising an iron bar - The story of compass will then be shared with the students and if possible we will try to make a compass in the classroom using a magnetised needle and cork.

Attraction and repulsion in magnets - Suspend a magnet and bring one by one the poles of another magnet near it. What do you observe?

Q - Do the magnets always get attracted to each other?
Q - If not, in what circumstance do the attract each other?
Q - When is it that no attraction takes place? What is happening in those situations?
Q - What do you think is happening.


Two magnets will be attracted by their opposite poles, and each will repel the like pole of the other magnet.

The chapter will be summarized with some cautions like how the magnets can lose their magnetic property, how to store them for their longevity etc. will be discussed.


The execution went as planned. The students magnetised the needle first and checked the same by bringing the needle closer to other magnetic materials. Now, we took a bowl full of water and placed the needle on top of a small leaf floating on water. The needle always pointed towards the same poles. I shared the story of compass with them and then we discussed compass and its uses in details.

For the second activity, i.e. the attraction and repulsion of the magnet. We did it a little different. The students were given a pair of bar magnets and keep them on table and try to bring together the poles of the magnet in different ways and not down their observations. The students observed that opposite poles attract and like poles repel each other. Some of the students had observed this phenomenon in previous activities but were not quite sure what exactly that was.


Question 1
What will happen if take magnetic compass near a bar magnetic?
(a) The needle will deflect
(b) The needle will not deflect
(c) The needle will reverse the direction
(d) None of these

Question 2
The North end of the freely suspended magnet points towards?
(a) Geographical West
(b) Geographical East
(c) Geographical North
(d) Geographical South

Question 3
Which of the following is true of magnets?
(a) Like poles repel each other
(b) Opposite pole attract each other
(c) magnets has two poles (North and South)
(d) All the above

Question 4
What is incorrect of magnets?
(a) Magnetic power is more in the middle of bar magnets
(b) Magnetite is a natural magnet
(c) Magnetic compass always aligned towards North south direction
(d) None of the above

Question 5
A bar magnet is immersed in a heap of iron filings and pulled out. The amount of iron filling clinging to the?
(a) North pole is almost equal to the south pole.
(b) North pole is much more than the south pole.
(c) North pole is much less than the south pole.
(d) Magnet will be same all along its length.

Question 6
Match the column
(u) Attraction
(v) Repulsion
(r) S-S
(s) N-S
(a) P -> V, Q ->U, R-> V,S-> U
(b) P -> U, Q ->V, R-> V,S-> U
(c) P -> V, Q ->U, R-> U,S-> V
(d) None of these

Question 7
The North Pole of a magnetic needle is painted
(a) red
(b) blue
(c) green
(d) black

Question 8
Statement A: Magnetism of a magnet is lost by Hampering
Statement B: Magnetism of a magnet is lost by breaking it
(a) Statement A is correct only
(b) Statement B is correct only
(c) Both the statement A and B are correct
(d) Both the statement A and B are incorrect

Question 9
Match the column
(u) Magnetic Material
(v) Non Magnetic Material
(r) Wood
(s) Iron
(a) P -> V, Q ->U, R-> V,S-> U
(b) P -> U, Q ->V, R-> V,S-> U
(c) P -> V, Q ->U, R-> U,S-> V
(d) None of these

Long Answer type Questions
Question 10
What are magnetic and nonmagnetic Materials

Question 11
What are different type of magnets? And where are the poles located?

State True or False
(a) Magnetism of a magnet is lost by hammering and heating.
(b) Magnetite is a natural magnet.
(c) A cylindrical magnet has only one pole.
(d) Poles always exists in pair.
(e) Like poles repel each other.
(f) Opposite poles of a magnet attract each other.
(g) Wood is a non-magnetic Material.
(h) Plastic is a magnetic Material.
(i) If a bar magnet is cut into four pieces along its length, then 4 N and 4 S will be formed.

Question 13
Fill in the blanks
(a) _________is a device used by pilots and navigators used to find the direction.
(b) Nickel is a ________ Material.
(c) Magnets are named after _______________.
(d) silver is a _____________ Material.
(e) _______________ is the surest test of Magnetism.
(f) ____________ type of magnet is used in cranes to lift heavy containers from ships.

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