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  • Magnetism is an engaging context for science learning, and investigating the properties of magnets is a great activity for building curiosity. Moving students from simply playing with magnets to developing their science capabilities and understanding about magnetism can be achieved by using specific questioning and directing students to ask their own questions.

    In this activity, students explore magnetism through a series of simple activities – they are prompted to think like scientists through the use of questioning.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • formulate questions related to magnetism and design relevant investigations
    • make predictions based on the evidence of their inquiries
    • create explanations for some of the properties of magnets based on their own investigations

    Nature of science

    By investigating magnetism, students are building their understandings about science investigations – by appreciating that scientists ask questions about the world that can lead to investigations and also by extending their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions and discussing simple models.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • background information for teachers
    • student instructions.

    Activity idea

    Other activities on the SLH that explore magnetism include Probing fridge magnets, Make an electric motor, Making an electromagnet and Making a weather vane and compass.

    Related content

    There are several articles and a PLD session related to magnetism. They include Introducing magnetism, Using magnetism, Mapping the Milky Way’s magnetic field, Fossil compasses, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Exploring magnetism.


    The Ministry of Education published the Building Science Concepts books, covering a range of science topics explaining relevant concepts and providing simple activities. Invisible Forces explores magnetism.


    We thank Dr Simon Taylor and the participants of the PLD session Exploring magnetism for sharing their ideas.

      Published 14 February 2018 Referencing Hub articles
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