Magnets and magnetic materials create pulling and pushing forces on each other when they are close. They attract or repel each other.
Many everyday objects rely on the force of magnetism; mobile phones, vacuum cleaners and fridges are just a few examples!
Teach your children about the magnetism using our handy topic guide!
- Find out which materials are magnetic.
- Make your own compass.
- Try painting with magnets.
- Create a paper plate magnetic maze.
- Go on a magnet hunt at home or at school. How many different ways are magnets used?
- Seal some magnetic objects inside a large plastic bottle, then allow younger children to explore what happens when a magnet gets close.
- Magnets occur naturally in the earth. According to legend, they are named after a Greek shepherd named Magnes who stood on a natural magnet (called a lodestone) and found that the metal nails in his shoe stuck to it!
- All magnets have a north pole and a south pole.
- Not all metals are attracted to magnets; only those that contain iron.
- The Earth acts like a giant magnet. Compasses detect the planet’s magnetic field; the south pole of the compass’ magnet is attracted to the Earth’s North Pole and swings around towards it.
- Electromagnets are made by applying an electric current to a coil of magnetic wire. They are useful when magnetism needs to be switched on and off, such as in a door that can be opened and locked remotely.
- Birds can sense the Earth’s magnetic field, and use it to navigate.
How do magnets work?
Maddie Moate shows how magnets work using a slow-motion camera.
Running time: 1:42
Magnets: How it’s made
Learn how magnets are made.
Running time: 5:08
The Science Behind Magnets
This video is a great introduction to magnetism.
Running time: 4:45
Magnetism | The Dr. Binocs Show
Dr Binocs explains how magnets are attracted to each other.
Running time: 3:15
Magnet Max loves experimenting with magnets. He knows all about how they work and loves using them to attract new types of things. Join Max and his friend as they explore the science behind the magic.
This book takes the reader through the different uses and aspects of magnetism: how magnets make engines work, how they can help you to find your way, and even how magnets can be switched on and off!
Are you teaching your children about other topics? Explore our full collection of guides!