Comments, Reflections and Study Action Plan


Try this exercise before you check your progress in this topic against the menu.

A conversation in the Lander household during tea-time.

Kishan and Simran are six-year old twins who have not studied magnets at school. The conversation below arose from a comment about the fridge magnets with which they had been playing whilst Mum prepared tea.

Mum, Kishan thinks the magnet on the back of Mickey Mouse is made of metal. Is he right?

Mum: "Thatís right, they are made of a special type of metal."

Kishan: "Itís good isn't Mum? Metal sticks to metal, look. (Kishan puts the fridge magnet on the fridge and then the brass handle of the cupboard door. It falls off and he tries again.)

Kishan: "Mum it won't stick to the handle, but it's metal!" (He says with surprised disbelief)

Simran: "No, that one's not big enough try a bigger one. The big magnet will stick better to the golden handle." (He tries to put the magnet on the handle and looks surprised when it also falls off).

Kishan: "Well, magnets don't stick to these." (He tries a magnet on the packet of salt, the kitchen door and a plastic bowl.)

Mum: "Thatís right, it won't stick to them because they are made of paper, wood and plastic."

Simran: "But big magnets will." (Insists Simran trying again.)

Analyse the conversation and imagine yourself in the room with the twins.

1 What misconceptions do the twins hold?

2 If you were their teacher and this conversation took place in your class list the questions you would have asked to find out more about their knowledge and understanding.

3 If you were to plan the next steps in their learning what would you plan for the curious pair.


History of magnetism, What is a magnet
What do magnets do, Test for a magnet
Magnetic fields
The Earth's magnetic field
Theory of magnetism
Induced magnetism
Magnetic properties of iron and steel
Storing magnets
Making a magnet
Primary science applications
Fleming's Left Hand Rule
Self assessment