You are on page 1of 5

Becky McCoy

Lesson Title: Magnetic Field 1 Timing: 60 minutes

Target Audience:
11th and 12th Grade Physics Class

Students Will Be Able To:
• Demonstrate the shape and direction of magnetic fields.
• Calculate the strength of magnetic force.
• Predict the direction of a particle’s movement in a magnetic field.

The Teacher Will Be Able To:

• Provide students with the opportunities to observe magnetic phenomena.
• Assess and address student misconceptions.

Standards Assessed:
New York State Standards in Physics
4.1 Observe and describe transmission of various forms of energy.
xv. map the magnetic field of a permanent magnet, indicating the direction of the field between the N
(north-seeking) and S (south-seeking) poles
4.1j Energy may be stored in electric* or magnetic fields. This energy may be transferred through
conductors or space and may be converted to other forms of energy.
4.1k Moving electric charges produce magnetic fields. The relative motion between a conductor and a
magnetic field may produce a potential difference in the conductor.
5.1 Students can explain and predict different patterns of motion of objects (e.g., linear and uniform circular
motion, velocity and acceleration, momentum and inertia).
5.1t Gravitational forces are only attractive, whereas electrical and magnetic forces can be attractive or

National Science Education Standards (1996) as published on

6.2 Table of Physical Science Standards, Level 9-12
• Structure and properties of matter.
• Interactions of energy and matter.
6.7 Table of History and Nature of Science Standards, Level 9-12
• Science as a human endeavor.
• Historical perspectives.

Misconception(s) Addressed:
• Magnetic fields behave the same as and end at the other.
electric fields • Poles can be isolated.
• North and south magnetic poles are the • Flux is the same as field lines.
same as positive and negative charges. • Flux is actually the flow of the
• Magnetic field lines start at one pole magnetic field.
Becky McCoy

• Magnetic fields are the same as electric • Charges, when released, will move
fields. toward the poles of a magnet.
• Charges at rest can experience magnetic • Generating electricity requires no work.
forces. • When generating electricity only the
• Magnetic fields from magnets are not magnet can move.
caused by moving charges. • Voltage can only be induced in a closed
• Magnetic fields are not 3-dimensional. circuit.
• Magnetic field lines hold you on the • Magnetic flux, rather than change of
Earth. magnetic flux, causes an induced emf.

Prior Knowledge: Electricity Unit & Introductory Lesson on Magnetism

Aim: Discover the shape, direction, and equation of magnetic fields.

Concept Map Vocabulary: n/a

Necessary Preparation:

• Pre-cut and labeled paper to make boxes

• Magnets of all shapes and sizes
• Iron Filings
• Small compasses
• Paper
• Pencils
• Pipe Cleaners
• Tape/glue/adhesive

Becky McCoy

Lesson Plan

Aim: Discover the shape, direction, and equation of magnetic fields.

Physics Push-Up: Magnetism Demonstrations (5 minutes)

• Drag paperclip 15 times and it becomes magnetic.
• Toy trains showing attraction and repulsion.
• Bar magnets to show the magnetic poles.

As you demonstrate these different interactions for students, ask them to write down what is occurring. They
should use vocabulary and concepts from the last class.

Activity: Shape of Magnetic Fields (30 minutes)

• Magnets of all shapes and sizes
• Iron Filings
• Small compasses
• Paper
• Pencils
• Pre-cut and labeled paper to make boxes
• Pipe Cleaners
• Tape/glue/adhesive

Explain to students that magnets do not simply interact when they are touching, but even when they are not
touching there is some interaction happening. This interaction is called the magnetic field. The following
activity will show students what the magnetic field looks like.
• Students place two bar magnets on their desk with opposite poles facing each other and
cover them with a piece of paper.
• Sprinkle paper and magnets with iron filings and notice what pattern occurs. Draw the
pattern on a separate piece of paper.
• Use small compasses to determine which direction the field is oriented along 4 of the
many field lines.

It makes sense to students that two magnets interacting have a magnetic field associated with them. Since a
magnet has two poles, it is important to note that there is a magnetic field associated with a single magnet as
• Place a single bar magnet under a piece of paper and follow the procedure above.

Have students fold pre-cut and labeled paper into small rectangular boxes to symbolize the magnet. They should
use pipe cleaners to show how the field lines for the magnetic field would look in 3 dimensions. At some point,
you should point out that some field lines are in the middle of the magnet, pointing from North to South.
Becky McCoy

Activity Summary: Magnetic Field Equation (15 minutes)

Ask students what might happen if a charged particle moves through a magnetic field (it experiences a force).
Have students develop the formula for magnetic force from what they know about electric and magnetic fields:

F = qvBsinθ

Perform a unit analysis to show what the units of each variable are and what the units for the force will be. This
is also a good opportunity to show the Right Hand Rule since it is clear from the formula that F, v, and B are
related in some way and that sinθ for 90degrees is equal to one.

Explain that this magnetic force occurs on a small scale between or inside magnets as well as on a large scale,
as in the Earth’s magnetic field. The next lesson will look more at the Earth’s magnetic field and the effects of
it. The remainder of the unit will explore the interactions between magnetism and electricity.

One practice problem to prepare students for homework:

A proton moves with a speed of 1.0E5 m/s perpendicular to the Earth’s magnetic field, which has a value of
55µ T at a particular location. What is the strength of the magnetic force?

Homework: (5 minutes)
From College Physics Textbook:
• Is a net force exerted on a bar magnet in a uniform magnetic field?
• A proton moving horizontally enters a region where a uniform magnetic field is directed perpendicular
to the proton’s velocity. Describe the subsequent motion of the proton. How would an electron behave
under the same circumstances?
• At the equator, near Earth’s surface, the magnetic field is approximately 50.0µ T northward and the
electric field is about 100N/C downward in fair weather. Find the gravitational. electric, and magnetic
forces on an electron with an instantaneous velocity of 6.00E6 m/s directed to the east in this
• A proton travels with a speed of 3.0E6 m/s at an angle of 37degrees with the direction of a magnetic
field of 0.30T in the +y direction. What are (a) the magnitude of the magnetic force on the proton and
(b) the proton’s acceleration?

Exit Strategy: 321 Exit Card (5 minutes)

1. The formula for magnetic force.
2. Poles in a magnet.
3. Things you learned today.

Extension Activity:
More Practice Problems and questioning section.
Becky McCoy

• Student conversations and responses in class discussions.
• Student work in magnet activity and 3D models.

• Homework responses.

Faughn, J. S., & Serway, R. A. (2003). College Physics (6 ed.). New York: Brooks Cole.
NOVA Teachers Guide for Magnetic Storm

Notes & Adaptations: