Mickey’s Magnets (SOL 2.1, 2.2)

Mickey’s Magnets

Instructor’s Name: Gemma Griffin

Grade: 2nd

Time: 45 minutes

Concept: Scientific Investigation; Force, Motion, Energy

Topic: Magnetism: attract/repel


2.1 The student will conduct investigations in which:

a) observation is differentiated from personal interpretation, and conclusions are drawn based on observations;

b) conditions that influence a change are defined;

c) simple physical models are constructed

2.2 The student will investigate and understand that natural and artificial magnets have certain characteristics and attract specific types of metals.    Key concepts include:

a) magnetism, iron, magnetic/nonmagnetic, poles, attract/repel

Rationale: Magnets and their forces give students insight and prior knowledge to build future understandings upon about the earth’s gravitational pull.

Goals: To promote science as inquiry.

To investigate two forces of magnets: attract/repel




The student will be able to identify the two forces of a magnet; evidenced through class discussion and participation in experiment.



The student will be able to construct a simple device, with given materials that will allow magnets to demonstrate their push and pull forces; evidenced by student’s ability to make the magnets appear as if they are suspended in mid-air on the straws


The student will be able to relate how magnets make work easier; evidenced by class discussion about the book, Mickey’s Magnets.


Mickey’s Magnet by Franklyn M. Branley

Per Group:

1 bar magnet, wooden ruler, penny, paper clips, donut magnets (2 for each child), plastic stirrers, ball of clay, trays, plastic objects

Advanced Organizer:

Mickey’s Magnet


How did Mickey start picking up the pins? What made this job easier?

Introduce a bar magnet and ask children to identify what it can do.

Have students predict, both orally and aloud, which objects in front of them they think the magnet will pick up.

Have students try to pick up the objects using the bar magnet (e.g., wooden ruler, penny, plastic object, aluminum object, and a variety of iron and steel objects.

Have students record which items the magnet picked up, and which ones it did not.

Explain to the children that a magnet has a special force that can move things. One force is a push, the other is a pull. Which type of force did we use in our demonstration?

In their groups of 4, distribute trays containing a ball of clay, plastic stirrers, and 2 donut magnets for each child in group.

Allow children to investigate by themselves for awhile.

Ask children to do the following:

a. holding the magnets in each hand at the edges, feel the magnetic force between the magnets by bringing them together very slowly.
b. flip over one magnet and see if you feel something different.
c. hold one magnet flat on the palm of your hand. Take the other magnet and place it on top like a sandwich. Flip magnet over and try again.

Have the children work together in their group to make a stand for the magnets by inserting a plastic stirrer into clay. Challenge them to put magnets on the stirrers so they pull towards each other. Repeat this so they push away from each other and appear to be suspended in the air.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Which items did the magnet pick up?
2. What force did the magnet use to pick up the items? What did the magnet feel like it was doing to the object? (pushing/pulling?)


What did you learn about magnets?
What two forces are found in magnets?
What happens when the “ends” of a magnet meet? Are both “ends” the same? Explain.


Class participation and on-task during experimenting with magnets and class discussion.


This lesson was differentiated using inquiry science, hands-on experiences, as well as auditory and visual aids.


Lynchburg, VA 24503

Last modified Thursday November 24, 2011