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Becky McCoy

Lesson Title: Magnetic Fields 2 Timing: 60 minutes

Target Audience:
11th and 12th grade Physics course

Students Will Be Able To:
• Observe magnetism and electricity interacting.
• Make predictions as to the relationship between electricity and magnetism.
• Describe magnetic situations using the hand rules.

The Teacher Will Be Able To:
• Demonstrate magnetism and electricity interacting.
• Scaffold students’ understanding of how magnetism and electricity relate.

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 repulsive.

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 • Magnetic field lines start at one pole
electric fields and end at the other.
• North and south magnetic poles are • Poles can be isolated.
the same as positive and negative • Flux is the same as field lines.
charges. • Flux is actually the flow of the
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magnetic field. • Charges, when released, will move
• Magnetic fields are the same as toward the poles of a magnet.
electric fields. • Generating electricity requires no
• Charges at rest can experience work.
magnetic forces. • When generating electricity only the
• Magnetic fields from magnets are magnet can move.
not caused by moving charges. • Voltage can only be induced in a
• Magnetic fields are not 3- closed circuit.
dimensional. • Magnetic flux, rather than change of
• Magnetic field lines hold you on the magnetic flux, causes an induced emf.

Prior Knowledge: Electricity Unit and Lessons 1-2 of Magnetism Unit

Aim: Use hand rules to describe magnetic fields.

Concept Map Vocabulary: n/a

Necessary Preparation:

• Computer/projector
• MIT hand rule examples (on paper or projected)

Becky McCoy

Lesson Plan

Aim: Use hand rules to describe magnetic fields.

Physics Push-Up: Free Write (5 minutes)
Have the students answer the following questions:
• What affects the direction of a magnet field?
• What affects the strength of a magnet field?
• Where do magnetic fields exist?
• What type of connection might exist between magnetic fields and electricity?

Activity: Hand Rules and Crazy Videos (33 minutes)
• Computer with projector


Begin class with a quick review from last period:
• What shapes did the iron filings create with a single magnet?
• Two magnets?
• How does this relate to the magnetic field of the Earth?

Review the homework questions as a large class or in lab groups.

“Now we are going to explore how you can create magnetic fields using electricity. First, let’s look at some
demonstrations of how magnets and electricity might interact.”

As students watch each of the following videos (or demonstrations if you are able to do them), have them
predict what is happening in the video.
• Two wires:
• Lorentz Force on single wire:
• Solenoid Electromagnet:
• Eddy Current:

“We can figure out which direction the magnetic field, current, and forces face by using the ‘Right and Left
Hand Rules’.”

Write on the board: Right = pRoton and Left = eLectron

“This means the rules for protons can be illustrated by your right hand and for electrons by your left hand. The
Left Hand Rule is more useful since we study the movement of electrons, but many older textbooks and college
courses only use the Right Hand Rule, so I want you to be familiar with it.”
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Have everyone stick their right hand out in front as if they are going to shake someone’s hand. Everyone’s
fingers should be extended and thumbs should be outstretched in a perpendicular direction, you can then

THUMB = direction of velocity/current FINGERS = direction of magnetic field THUMB = force
Have students write this in their notes (maybe with some drawings) and confirm the predictions from each of
the videos.

“We can connect these hand rules to the force equation from yesterday since they both show that the force, the
magnetic field, and the current/velocity of a charge are all perpendicular to each other.”

Activity Summary: Hand Rule practice (15 minutes)
Have students do some practice problems from the MIT website.

• Pictures:
• Examples: “Practice Right Hand Rule #1” from

Homework: Video Review (5 minutes)
Students should re-watch the videos from class and analyze the demonstrations using the right/left hand rule to
confirm the phenomena occurring. If there is no way to post the videos online, hand out a half sheet with the
URL for each video.

Exit Strategy: (2 minutes)
Before students leave the room, they must explain the hand rules to their partner and which hand goes with
which charge.

Extension Activity:
Have students begin or complete homework in class.

• Student discussions and questions.
• Student responses to hand rule examples.

• Pictures:
• Examples: “Practice Right Hand Rule #1” from
• Two wires:
• Lorentz Force on single wire:
• Solenoid Electromagnet:
• Eddy Current:
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Notes & Adaptations: