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Chaperone Guide for Magnetism (Grade 3)

Chaperone Guide for Magnetism (Grade 3)

Background for Teachers

The chaperone guide is designed so that chaperones can help students build their understanding of magnetism through hands-on, minds-on experiences at exhibits in ways that correlate to the Next Generation Science Standards.

Which standard is addressed?
The standard is 3-PS2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions.
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. (3-PS2-3)

For more information about this standard, see the Next Generation Science Standards website.

What’s special about the exhibits?
The exhibits allow students to explore magnetic force with materials that may not be available in a classroom environment, such as powerful magnets, or use everyday materials such as black sand from our local beaches in surprising ways. Additionally, the exhibits lend themselves to social learning experiences; at the exhibits students can ask questions, make observations, and discuss their ideas together.

What can be explored at the exhibits?
Three exhibits were selected to give students the opportunity to experience magnetic forces in a variety of ways

  • At Magnetic Tightrope, students test and compare how different metals behave near a magnet. Some of the metals are nonmagnetic and are unaffected by the magnet. Others become temporarily magnetized and are strongly attracted to the magnet.
  • At Magnetic Clouds, students explore how iron particles in an oil-filled tube interact with a magnet outside of the tube. By slowly moving the magnet away from the tube, students can see how the strength of the magnetic force decreases with distance.
  • At Black Sand, the invisible magnetic field—the field of force that exists around the magnet—is made visible when the sand (a magnetic iron oxide called magnetite) interacts with the magnet. Students can try to find out where the field is strongest and where the field becomes too weak to attract the sand.

After-visit classroom discussions and resources
During a class discussion, let volunteers describe what they saw happen at each exhibit. Then invite students to talk about or raise questions about similarities they noticed among the exhibits. As necessary, help them recognize the cause-and-effect relationships that the exhibits demonstrate: Putting certain metals near a magnet causes them to be attracted to the magnet; moving a magnetic object closer to a magnet, or further from it (or moving the magnet), causes a change in the strength of the magnetic force.

Let students discuss anything they’re wondering about or are confused by. Help them brainstorm ways that they could explore their questions further.

For help in planning follow-up activities, see our Field Trip Resources: After Your Visit page for online activity resources.

For your chaperones
Chaperone Guide for Magnetism
You should also provide your chaperones with our Chaperone Tips, which is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.