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Ideas for Teaching Magnetism to Elementary Students


Teaching magnetism can be fun! This blog post explores ideas and activities for teaching magnetism to young learners, focusing on hands-on and interactive activities that transform the learning experience into something engaging and memorable.

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Introduce Vocabulary for Teaching Magnetism

Image shows vocabulary word cards displayed on a bulletin board for teaching magnetism

Word walls are great to display when teaching magnetism. I like to refer to them when I am going over the words. A word wall definitely shouldn’t be purely decoration. I often used them in conjunction with textbooks when doing introduction vocabulary work.

The image shows a vocabulary familiarity table for teaching magnetism vocabulary.  The sheet is positioned on decorative paper layered beneath and there is a pencil to the left.

When dealing with content vocabulary it is important to make sure students have a general understanding of the word. I like to begin units with a vocabulary familiarity table to see what my students already know (or think they know). From there I move on to other vocabulary activities like word squares or scavenger hunts. This helps expose the students to vocabulary before seeing it in context.

Magnetic Scavenger Hunt

Image shows a child's hand holding a hand magnet in a colorful elementary classroom

Transform the classroom or school premises into an interactive space with a magnetic scavenger hunt. Conceal magnetic objects, task students with handheld magnets, and encourage them to explore, discover, and collect items using magnetic forces. This activity reinforces magnetism concepts while fostering teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Image shows magnetic art with a sun drawn on a magnet board

Tap into students’ creative energy by integrating magnetic art into the curriculum. Provide an array of magnetic materials such as iron filings, paper clips, and small magnets. Allow students to experiment with arranging these materials, creating unique magnetic artworks. This hands-on approach deepens their understanding of how magnets interact with different materials. A mess-free way to allow students to create magnetic art is to use magnetic drawing boards for kids like these.

Reading Passages and Comprehension Questions for Teaching Magnetism

Image shows a reading passage entitled "What is magnetism?" with comprehension questions at the bottom.  It is layered on top of a blue piece of paper and at the top of the image is a decorative banner.

Deepen understanding of the topics by offering short reading passages with comprehension questions. Quick reading passages are perfect to reinforce a topic, as homework, and as classwork. If you’re looking for some reading passages for teaching magnetism you can check out my electricity and magnetism worksheets and activities available on TPT.

Magnetic Puzzles and Games

A fun idea for teaching magnetism is to challenge students to apply their understanding of magnetic energy through engaging puzzles and games. Develop magnetic mazes, word searches, or crossword puzzles to reinforce magnet-related vocabulary. Click on the names below from the list to see the games.

DIY Magnetic Experiments

The image shows two pole magnets facing each other surrounded by iron shavings.  The shavings are showing the magnetic field around the magnets

Strengthen comprehension through hands-on experiences with a series of do-it-yourself (DIY) magnetic experiments. From creating a simple compass using a magnetized needle to constructing a magnetic field viewer with iron filings, these activities allow students to witness magnetic energy in action.

Guest Speakers and Field Trips for Teaching Magnetism

Enrich the learning experience by bringing in guest speakers, such as scientists or engineers specializing in magnetism, or organizing field trips to science museums or magnetic laboratories. Exposure to real-world applications enhances students’ appreciation of magnetic energy. You can also try virtual field trips. Florida State has this site dedicated to virtual trips to their magnetic lab.

Teaching magnetism to elementary students is fun when we allow students to explore. By embracing hands-on activities, interweaving traditional learning, and interactive experiences, educators ensure that students not only grasp fundamental magnetism principles but also develop a lasting interest in the wonders of magnetic energy.

Resources for Teaching Electricity and Magnetism

Electricity and Magnetism


My name is Jen and I’m the face behind Endeavors in Education.

I have a passion for ELA and science. I am even STEM certified. Now I spend my time hanging with my kids, blogging (endeavorsined.com), and creating for my TpT store Endeavors in Education.

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