Magnets Final Project Jess Brittney Virginia Dominque

Jess Edwards

Brittney Downing

Virginia Avila

Dominique Creer

Magnifying Magnets Unit

Introduction:

We do not notice much, but magnets are very important in our world. The fancy refrigerator magnet keeping that coupon pinned in hopes of remembering to use the discount probably proves the basic level of thinking about magnets. In reality magnets enable laptops and other pieces of technology to function. The importance of magnets in the world and the interest children show in the way magnets attract and do not attract items explains why magnets were our choice for the activity. We had just a few goals for children. First, we wanted them to understand the attraction and lack of attraction magnets had with each other and with other objects. Also, understanding the different strengths of magnets proved a goal since different strengths equals different uses.

Unit Map:
This unit will have student starting thinking critically on how things work. This would help the student question things, which would help with the discussion in class.

I would first have the students start on trying to figure out what exactly magnets are and where have they seen them.
I would then start the discussion asking different questions like“why are magnets important?”
Then, “What are they used for and how do they work?”
I then would ask the students “who created the magnet? and when are they mostly used? Are magnets in nature?”

These questions can help get the ball rolling so that the students would start trying to investigate and get answers. This links other topics together because it could help the kids think of their own experiences with the objects or bring up things that they have used before. The students would also write what answers they have found and what questions they still had. This would help with a farther more discussion and to see what point of views the student find if the students believe that magnets are in nature or not.

Conceptual Explanations:
The student would have learn more about how to critically think as well as discuss topics in the classroom. The students would also be able to give answers to questions, with many reasons on why they believe in that answer. This helps the students see both sides of a situation instead of just one side. The student would also be able to see how the concepts of the magnets would work as well has how nature works with magnets. The students could relate it to how the Earth is always circling the sun and how the planets, and stars line up. The students would learn just a lot on how things could actually be used in the real world rather than just in the classroom. I believe that this is super important because it would be able to help the students, in the future to link concepts about magnets up with other concepts.

Integrative and Patterns Opportunities:

Other Disciplines:

There are quite a few different disciplines that magnets can easily be integrated with. Some vary on children's other content knowledge and abilities, but the possibility of lacking a skill should not mean an activity is to be turned away. Children commonly ask a few questions about magnets and one of them proves to be where do magnets come from. Students could research this information and then create a map of the locations iron and other common materials used to create magnets are mined/found. How magnets are used in our lives integrates into social studies. Also, the history of how magnets have changed could be looked into. Many types of technologies use magnets. Students can look into how computers and even some cell phones use magnets in order to understand how magnets play a role in their everyday lives. MRI's and pacemakers also use magnets, which is part of the health discipline. Measuring the strength of magnets and creating or following their circuits are two great ways to include math. The equations for measuring magnetic strength may be too much for some students, but most will be able to compare different strengths. Language arts can always be easily integrated with journals about how experiments went or with published books about magnets. Also, a creative language arts activity would be producing a class or group poem about magnets. Art also proves another creative way for students to learn about magnets. They could create various different projects one including personalized refrigerator magnets.

Subunits

Polarization - The Northern and Southern poles on the Earth could be explored alongside the north and south poles of the magnet. The differences in animals and the similarities in climate are two great research projects for children to explore.

Magnetic Field - The circuit of the magnetic field could be combined with Euler’s circuits in elementary school math.

Iron in Cereal - We need iron in our bodies to survive, but this mineral creates magnets. What is the difference between the iron inside a magnet or inside cereal, or other foods? This proves a great discussion and exploration activity for students.

Metapatterns:

A few patterns revolve themselves around magnets. Magnets come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common includes square or rectangular thin pieces. These pieces represent sheets, which can be used to broaden into the sheets that magnets may be attracting or helping to function. The sheets then can be connected to technology, health, and other disciplines or situations. One such example would be the magnet inside a laptop that allows the device to run. The magnetic sheet then broadens into the sheet of the laptop itself, which then connects to music, graphics, technology, and many other areas. Rigidity and flexibility proves another category magnets fall into. Rigidity is described as "strength and impenetrability, while flexibility implies adaptability and change" (Bloom, 2006). Magnets can be pretty strong, keeping materials together and keeping them functioning correctly. They are also flexible, since they change in charge when identical poles are pointed towards each other. Bridges can then be discussed since they are made to be strong to hold vehicles, yet they are made to be flexible to bend in strong winds so they do not collapse. The north and south poles of a magnet can be described as a binary pattern. The attraction and repelling in a magnet and in a binary pattern "involve separation or unity" (Bloom, 2006). Linking the Northern and Southern hemispheres proves an easy connection activity extending the magnet binary pattern. Students can look into the similarities and differences between the climate, vegetation, and animals. Also, arrows describe the attraction and repelling of magnets. Two magnets with opposite poles would have arrows facing each other while two magnets having the same poles facing each other would have arrows pointing away from each other to show the magnetic field. Weather patterns involve arrows, offering another simple extending activity. Since magnets are used often to bring items together, they can be described as clusters, too. The clustering of all the pieces inside a laptop can then be researched.

References, Resources, and Other Information:

Bloom, Jeffrey. Creating a Classroom Community of Young Scientists: 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2006.

Engagement, Inquiry, and End Product

An approach teachers can use to engage children in this unit is to make it relatable to the children’s lives. In order to make it relatable to them it is important to know what types of things in our everyday lives use magnets. Some of the things in our daily lives that use magnets are speakers, computers, and bank cards. It would be a good idea to have some of these items, as well as others, in the classroom while children explore magnets. Another possible way to get children engaged in a unit about magnets is to create a whole-class KWL chart or have the children create their own KWL charts. Through these KWL charts, students will feel more invested in learning about magnets since they have made a chart of what they know, what they want to know, and at the end they are able to write down what they learned from the unit. Lastly, a way to get children engaged in this type of unit is to allow them to explore magnets on their own before the unit begins. By doing this, students naturally become curious about magnets, therefore, they become more engaged in the unit about magnets.

To engage students in the subunit of polarization would be to begin with asking questions about the poles and why the earth is tilted on its axis. By asking questions and getting students thinking, you are able to spark their interests. Another way to engage students in this subunit would be to begin my showing them the differences in the animals that are located at each of the poles and the similarities in the climates. This type of an activity could also spark a student’s interest and cause them to be more engaged in the subunit lesson. For the subunit on magnetic field, an easy way to get students engaged in these activities is to talk to them about imagination and invisible things. This would be a good pathway to talking about the “invisible” magnetic field. This subunit would be engaging enough for students since they could explore a magnet’s magnetic field using iron shavings, a piece of paper, and a magnet. By allowing them to begin with this topic, students would easily and quickly be engaged. Lastly, to engage students in the subunit of iron being in cereal, you could begin by playing a trivia game on things that are magnetic and things that are not magnetic. Students would be surprised to learn that there is iron in there cereal, let alone enough iron in their cereal to be attracted to a magnet! By playing trivia games, students naturally try and compete with themselves to find out what they know and what they do not know. This type of a trivia question would surprise them and cause them to be engaged and interested in the upcoming subunit.

For this unit, a lot of the inquiry would be student-directed through experiments and observations. It tends to be more beneficial for lessons and inquiries to be student-directed since it is important to teach things that students are interested in and things that they want to learn about. This helps to keeps students engaged and excited throughout the learning process. By doing these types of inquiry through experiments and observations, one is able to see what types of things spark interest in the students and help to gear other activities and learning towards those things that the students are interested in and like to do. Experiments that students develop on their own are a good way to engage in student learning. If students create their own experiments, they are able to learn more about science in their world in general. By creating their own experiments, and the teacher walking them through in these experiments, students are able to learn a great deal about the scientific method and performing experiments with as little room for error as possible. Also, by students creating their own experiments, they are able to learn a lot about the world around them and the things that interest them. They could also share these findings and discoveries with the whole-class so that the class can all share in the knowledge that everyone is gathering.

By setting an end goal, one limits what their students can learn and achieve in a unit through experiments and inquiry. Instead, it is a good thing to keep the end product very open and vague so that students have free range to explore and discover new things about the work they will in and the environment around them. After all of the students have performed their experiments and developed their ideas and thoughts, it would be beneficial for them to present these things to the class so that everyone can share in the learning done by the community. A discussion regarding each of the topics would also be a good idea to decide what challenges and errors might have occurred during the experiments and conclusions. Through these presentations and discussions, students are able to gather more knowledge of their environment and world more quickly than they would if they had to learn each of these things on their own through experimentation and observation. As a whole group, students could create some sort of book or website to collect all of their findings to keep in one cohesive place. This would allow students to return to what they have previously learned and reference it during other classroom activities.

Sub-Unit Activities, Inquiries, Inquiry Questions, and Data Analysis

I. Polarization

A. Activity

i. Magnetic Attraction

a. Students can explore polarization through things like positive and negative magnets attracting and positive and positive, and negative and negative sides of a magnet rejecting each other.

ii. Earth’s Poles

a. Show a video and play an online game that teaching students about the earth’s poles

B. Questions or Problems Aligned to the Activity

i. Magnetic Attraction

a. Do magnets attract their opposite counterparts or their similar counterparts?

ii. Earth’s Poles

a. Why does the earth sit on its axis?

b. Why does it have two different poles?

C. Types of Techniques to Analyze Data

i. Magnetic Attraction

a. A chart displaying how many times each side of a magnet attracted its opposite or similar side.

b. A graph showing how many times each side of a magnet attracted its opposite or similar side.

ii. Earth’s Poles

a. Create their own activity or experiment to help explain the earth’s poles.

II. Magnetic Field

A. Activity

i. Exploring Magnetic Fields

a. Experimenting with a magnet’s magnetic field using iron shavings, paper, and different sized magnets

ii. Magnetic Field Attraction

a. Having a magnet attract different types of metals and how close they have to get to attract them.

B. Questions or Problems Aligned to the Activity

i. Exploring Magnetic Fields

a. How much bigger is the magnetic field of the magnet than the magnet?

b. How much do the shavings that the magnet attracts in the magnetic field weigh?

ii. Magnetic Field Attraction

a. What are the different weights of metals that the different strengths of magnets attract when they are placed a specific amount of inches away?

C. Types of Techniques to Analyze Data

i. Exploring Magnetic Fields

a. Students can record the data in a chart

ii. Magnetic Field Attraction

a. Students can record the data in a chart

III. Iron in Cereal

A. Activity

i. Attracting Cereal

a. Allow children to attract cereal that has iron in it with magnets

ii. Comparing Cereal to Iron

b. Compare the amount of cereal attracted to a magnet to the amount of iron attracted to the same magnet

B. Questions or Problems Aligned to the Activity

i. Attracting Cereal

a. What types of cereal are attracted the most?

b. What are the different amounts the different strengths of magnets attract?

ii. Comparing Cereal to Iron

a. How much iron is attracted by a specific magnet?

b. How much cereal is attracted by a specific magnet?

C. Types of Techniques to Analyze Data

i. Attracting Cereal

a. Graph the types of cereal attracted the most

ii. Comparing Cereal to Iron

a. Measure the different amounts of iron and cereal

b. Compare it on a graph

Assessment:
There are numerous forms of assessments that can be used to evaluate the learning of a student. Assessing students should be an ongoing process such as before, during, and after a unit. For our magnet unit, background knowledge can be incorporated before beginning the unit by creating a context map as a whole class. Students have the opportunity to explore their different ideas by connecting what they already know to the new topic. During the teaching instruction, teachers should continually assess by observing, recording, and questioning in order to keep up with how students are thinking, and processing the information. Portfolios as a great way of representing the growth of the student from beginning to end. They convey concrete evidence of a student’s best and worst work. Students are able to physically see their work, which leads to the process of self evaluation and responsibility. As for after the teaching, assessing students about what they learned and how they will apply it to their future allows teachers to determine the effectiveness of teaching strategies.

Implementation:
During the implementation our group decided to create a fishing for magnets station with different objects to pick up with fishing poles. We made the fishing poles by tying different sized magnets to string and wooden dowels. Here is an example of what the fishing poles looked like:

We had boxes with a variety of magnetic and nonmagnetic items such as, erasers, coins, paper clips, different strength magnetic balls, blocks, refrigerator magnets, horseshoe magnets, paper and iron fillings. We also constructed a poster board that consisted of facts, questions, and a matching section

Reflections and Critical Analyses:
Overall, we believe our magnets project was an effective and engaging experience for the students. To begin with, our project was set in a grassy area outside, where children could comfortably reach, and play with the objects. The children picked up objects with the fishing poles and asked questions and comments such as, "Why does this fishing pole not pick up the eraser?" " I think I need a stronger magnet" "Where do magnets come from?" Many of the students were curious about the magnetic field experiment. We allowed students to dust a small amount a iron filings on a piece of paper, and drag a magnet underneath the paper to demonstrate the invisible force of the magnetic field. We were astonished when a second grader explained how he had once filled a cup with water, and cereal, and used a magnet to move the cereal. I asked why he thought that happened and he replied "The cereal had 100% iron, and iron is a metal…Humans also need iron to stay healthy because we have iron in our blood." It was great to see how the child was thinking and learning by relating magnets to his everyday life. Since our goal of the project was to give students the freedom explore the differences of magnetic and nonmagnetic objects, the students were so curious and engaged in the actual process of experimenting. However, we could have made our project more effective by addressing the matching section from the poster board, which consisted of pictures of nonmagnetic and magnetic objects. We learned that the matching section could be a great form of assessment for the end of the unit process of learning.

Recommendations for Future Implementation:
The magnets unit can be incorporated in an elementary science classroom. For example, students can first brainstorm with the class about magnets with graphic organizers such as mapping or concept mapping. They can also each make their own simple fishing pole for the activity. The students can work in groups to find as many non magnetic and magnetic objects, and set up stations around the classroom. Students can draw, and record predictions/outcomes of what was attracted to the magnet and what was not. Teachers can assess the students by observing and asking questions during the process. Students can also discuss, write, or present what they have learned and how they personally related to the experiment. This unit can be modified to fit the needs of different populations of students. For example, older students can create more complex explanations and detailed diagrams. Students can also research about Earth’s northern lights, a phenomenon in many cultures that is caused by the magnetic field through books, and the internet.

References, Resources, and Other Information:
Howmagnetswork.com. Geno Jezek. 2006. 28 Mar. 2012.
<http://www.howmagnetswork.com>.

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