Lesson 3

The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems

A Magnetic Personality / Grade 4 / Medford, MA

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The EIE Curriculum

Students engage in several experiments to learn more about the properties of magnets. 

Reflection Questions

What unique assessment opportunities do Kathleen's interactions with small groups provide?

By talking to students in small groups, Kathleen is able to assess their understanding of the properties of magnets, and push them to experiment further with their properties.

  • When students at the Magnetic Sailing Station are not able to get the boat to come back by flipping the stack of magnets, Kathleen challenges them to think of another way to create this reaction. (2:00)
  • Kathleen asks a student to describe what is happening when the disc magnet is being repelled across the table. While the activity does not explicitly have students push the magnets across the table, the conversation provides an opening for Kathleen to guide students to describe what is going on. (6:30)

What evidence do you see that Kathleen's students are beginning to develop an understanding about the properties of magnets?

While students are experimenting at the activity stations, we see students using the vocabulary Kathleen has introduced related to magnets and asking their own questions about the properties of magnets.

  • A student describes a type of force field around the magnets. Kathleen asks, "Who knows what that force field is called?" The student names the phenomenon, saying it is a magnetic field. (4:00)
  • A student asks how you could figure out the poles of a magnet without having a magnet that's marked. Another student in the group says he doesn't think you can. Kathleen pushes the student to thoroughly explain his thought. (7:00)