Magnets: What's the Attraction?


This is a culminating activity for use following the study of magnets. Successful completion of this task will require students to:

  • Recognize and understand the properties of magnets
  • Recognize and understand which materials magnets attract
  • Recognize and understand that magnets produce energy that can be useful
  • Work cooperatively and independently on developing experiments using magnets
  • Explain and demonstrate their created projects to peers
  • Create a sense of self-worth through the creation and understanding of magnets and their uses

Notes for Teachers: Please be advised that fourth grade students will need to know about the magnetic poles (positive and negative) and how they attract or repel one another. Please be thorough when explaining this with the cork boat experiment. Have the students play around with magnets and discuss why the boats will repel or move with magnet along the bottom side of the boat.

Note: This task satisfies the Grade 4 Technology checklist items.

Student Task

So, you want to be scientist? Well, one of the most important skills you will need to demonstrate is the ability to gather information, using that information in experiments to see what the outcomes might be while carefully recording your findings. In this unit, you will get a chance to practice this skill as you learn about magnets and their power of attraction. You will create your own magnetic boat. Remember to work well with your classmates for you will be graded not only on what you have learned but also on how well you work with other "scientists." Have fun!

Process and Directions

1. Read pages 52-59 in How People Use Electricity with a partner. Take notes on what you have read and be prepared to discuss what you have read with your class. Write down at least three newly learned ideas on the Student Worksheet.

2. Use the magnet your teacher has provided for you and complete the Introducing Magnets worksheet with your cooperative group. Write your answers in complete sentences.

3. Your teacher will place you in cooperative groups and provide your group with paperclips, pencils, an eraser, paper, a piece of sandpaper, a ruler, a thumbtack, a safety pin, a nail, a magnet, and The Power of a Magnet worksheet. Work in your groups to follow directions and answer the questions using complete sentences. Talk among your group members as you discover the magnet's power.

4. Have fun and grab a partner! Your next task is to complete the Magnetic Maze ! You will learn how magnets are attracted to iron. Your teacher will give you the supplies you need: one paper clip, one piece of white paper, a pen or pencil, one magnet, a copy of a maze and the Magnetic Maze Sheet. Be sure to write any problems you experience on the bottom of your sheet.

5. Construct a magnetic boat out of cork, magnet, wire, paper clips, and poster board. Use the Magnetic Boats Directions Sheet to guide you in your construction. Set sail and answer the questions on the Magnetic Boats Questions worksheet through your observations. Use complete and thoughtful answers.

6. Visit the following website for more fun information on magnets:

7. Using the information that you have gathered through your experiments, the Internet, your reading and worksheets, write an expository essay detailing what you have learned in this unit using Microsoft Word.* Be sure to spell check your work and use the thesaurus to find better words for your essay.* When you have completed your essay, look through the Student Checklist and record how you feel you did in learning about magnets. Save to the server, print your essay ,and give it to your teacher.*

8. Your teacher will complete an assessment of how well you did with your expository essay (see assessments section) and how well you worked within your groups.

Resources and Support

Textbook- How People Use Electricity (pages 52-59)

Linked worksheets and Directions

Web Resources for Magnets:

Images acquired from:


Student Checklist

Teacher: Cooperative Groups Assessment

Teacher: Analytic Rubric for Assessing Student's Performance and Writing on Magnets