Many students are slow to adopt the idea of magnetic poles and only gradually come to see magnetic effects in terms of attraction of unlike poles and repulsion of like poles

Electricity and Magnetism


Resources to Address This

  • Interactions Between Magnets (5-11)

    This piece of exposition helps to reposition the magnetic interaction in terms of attraction and repulsion between like and unlike poles.

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  • A model of magnets (11-14)

    When the material is not magnetised, we can imagine that there is no pattern to the layout of the mini-magnets. In other words, they point in all directions.

    When the material is magnetised, the mini-magnets become aligned so that they all point in the same direction and the object becomes a magnet.

    The ideas are extended in the resource putting the model to work.

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  • Breaking a magnet (11-16)

    This experiment could be used either to show that magnetic poles always come in north-south pairs or to introduce a simple theory of permanent magnetism.

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  • Borges, A. T. and Gilbert, J. K. () Models of magnetism. International Journal of Science Education, 20 (3), 361-378.

    A study including electrical engineers shows that a fully correct understanding of electrical principles is not always necessary to work in the field. This paper describes how students and professionals picture electric currents and discusses how to develop models and teaching techniques that will allow students to link electrical concepts correctly.

    Paper digest

  • Preston, C. () Effect of a Science Diagram on Primary Students’ Understanding About Magnets. Research in Science Education, 46 (6), 857-877.

  • Haupt, G. W. () Concepts of magnetism held by elementary school children. Science Education, 36 (3), 162-168.

  • Van Hook, S. J. and Huziak-Clark, T. L. () Tip-to-Tail: Developing a Conceptual Model of Magnetism with Kindergartners Using Inquiry-Based Instruction. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 19 (2), 45-58.

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