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Lesson 3: We Live on a Magnet?

Stage/Year: Stage 3, Year 6 Time: 1 hour Objective: This lesson will further extend on children’s understanding of magnetism by looking at the Earth as a magnet. Syllabus Links: Resources: SC4-10PW(2)- The action of forces that act at a • 15 needles distance may be observed and related to everyday • 15 bar magnets situations. • 15 pieces of cork or milk bottle cap • use the term 'field' in describing forces acting at a • 15 plastic bowls, containing distance (NSW BOS, 2012a, p. 107). approximately 3cm of water ST3-8ES- describes how discoveries by people from • 15 compass’s different cultures and times have contributed to • 15 copies of Appendix A (link advancing scientific understanding of the solar system located at the bottom of this • explore the important contributions made by webpage) people from a range of cultures and • 10 3-Dimensional Magnetic Field organisations that have advanced our Demonstrators (purchased from understanding of the magnetism of Earth(NSW, 2012a, p. 68). Dimensional-Magnetic-FieldST3-4WS- investigates by posing questions, including Demonstrator/dp/B002Z85EZG) testable questions, making predictions and gathering • ‘Magnetism Quiz’ data to draw evidence-based conclusions and develop SMARTNotebook File (located at explanations. the bottom of this webpage) • with guidance, posing questions to clarify • Butcher paper and pens to answer practical problems or inform a scientific quiz investigation(NSW BOS, 2012a, p. 62). Summary table of KSK: • Current theory suggests that the Earth’s magnetic field is a result of the Earths outer core, which is rich in metals such as iron nickel. Due to the temperature in the outer core, these metals are in liquid form. The spin of the Earth is believed to cause the liquid in the outer core to move in currents, causing whirlpools. These whirlpools became electrically charged, due to the flow of the liquid iron. These electrically charge particles similarly to what can be observed in electromagnets (Brain, 2000; Lorenzen, 2004;, n.d.). • The Earths magnetic field is relatively weak, almost “1000 times weaker than that of a typical bar magnet” (Woodford, 2013). This is due to the Earths huge size (Brain, 2000; Woodford, 2013).

Lesson Overview: Introduction (15 minutes)• In pairs children will make their own compass, following the procedure in Appendix A. Once they have completed their compass, hand out real compasses and ask the children to compare the results. Are the results altered if the bar magnet is placed close to the compasses? • Are children to hypothesis why they think a compass works in their pairs and then shared some of the ideas in a class discussion. • Introduce the concept that we live on a giant magnet, Earth. • In pairs children will briefly discuss what they think makes the Earth magnetic. Come together as a class and write the groups ideas down on the IWB. Body (30 minutes)• Show the children the following YouTube video (4:20) explaining the earth is magnetic ( Ask the children to explain back what they have observed in the video to ensure that they have a foundational understanding of the Earths magnetism. • Children will split into groups of 3 to explore a 3-Dimensional Magnetic Field Demonstrator. Ask the children to draw what they think the Earths magnetic field looks like in their books, using their prior knowledge and what they have observed with the 3-Dimensional Magnetic Field Demonstrator. • After allowing children time to complete their drawings ask them to discuss as a class- ‘So how strong is the earth as a magnet?’. Explain that the earth is a relatively weak magnet, reminding them of the fact that they were able to move both compasses with a bar magnet. At this time it may be beneficial to allow the children to experiment with this again, providing pairs with a compass and bar magnet Conclusion (15 minutes)• In table groupings, children will complete a quiz relating to what they know so far about magnetism (This quiz can be accessed through the link at the bottom of this webpage and is a SMARTNotebook file). After each question a child can come up and write the answer on the board. Simplification: Extension: Pairing and groups can be strategies so that Children could be asked to contribute their own children can support each others learning. questions to the quiz and be challenged to make then as hard as they could. Additional Learning Opportunities: • Investigate the discovery of the earths magnetism first occurred. What did scientist believe then and how has this theory evolved over time with new technology and the contributions of scientists from around the world? • Investigate the invention of the compass- Who invented it, when was it invented etc. • Is the Earths north and south pole always in the same place? The Earths magnetic field is able to flip or reverse. How can we know this? Children can watch this video (2:34) ( to further investigate why this occurs and how this affects the Earth.