The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Magnets in 2nd Grade

magnets image thumb

2nd grade science is so much fun because they are at a fun age to teach with fun ways to explore big concepts. Magnets are of course a really exciting and engaging topic to cover.

Let’s take a look at all the fun you can have teaching magnets in second grade!

Kids of all ages know about magnets. Magnets make toys like wooden trains and magnet doodle pads toys that kids love to play with. Science, to me, is an extension of play time. Play for kids is exploring the world around them, sparking their imagination and curiosity. Science is the same thing.

This lesson can be used over any time period that fits your class’ needs. There are lots of ideas here, too, that you can pick and choose from based on your class ability level and time frame. I start all of my lessons off with an activity to get students thinking about the concept and build/activate some basic background knowledge. For magnets, I went with two options that are both simple ways to play with (explore) how magnets act and what they do.

For the first option, you can use a variety of magnetic toys and just let kids be kids and play. There are tons of magnet toys out there, and I bet some of your friends or fellow teachers have toys you can borrow. Look for toys such as wooden trains, magnetic building tiles, magnetic doodle pads, and games that use magnets like the fishing game. I use a think sheet for after the play time to help students explain and process their experience with magnets. You can see this think sheet in the Pre-learning Fun! image.

Open and Closed Circuits

For the second option, you can print the pond trail and help a mother duck lead her baby ducks safely to the water. This only requires a magnet and some paper clips and the printables included in the complete lesson set.

magnet prelearning duck pond

Exploring through play time is a sure way to get students engaged in any lesson! And from there, I like to do a little pre-learning assessment. This allows you to see what kids know going into the lesson as well as catch any misconceptions they may bring to this lesson. A KWL is an easy way to do this. You can also move the pre-learning assessment to before the pre-learning activity if you want.

magnets kwl

Now, its time for the teacher input to begin. I like to keep my informational texts short and sweet. This reading should be easy enough for students to comprehend what they are reading and should only give away the basics of the concept. The meat of the learning comes best through the hands-on labs and activities, as well as conversations you have with students as they explore. Let them experience the learning first hand. For this first teacher input activity, I have students read the informational text and define our two key terms based on what they read. Then, they can complete a simple graphic organizer to process what they read. I try to make each graphic organizer concept-themed to match the reading and add visuals. A summary writing with the key terms is also a great way for students to process the information and show you what they learned.

magnet reading and response

Since we are on the topic of key terms, I would like to show you some activities I do with the key terms to cover both word wall and vocabulary. You can see through the image below that I provide a variety of activities that can be used for the two key terms as well as open learning pages that can be use for additional words. Illustrated Word Wall cards posted in the classroom help kids learn and remember what words mean. There are a set of vocabulary matching cards for the two key terms. These can be used in groups or for each student to have their own set. The Word Wall Builder Chart is an activity I find to help students develop their understanding of each word. I begin this with the definition they create based on their reading. Then, add the actual definition and an illustration of the image. This can be done as a class with the chart displayed in the room. And, it can be done at any point in the lesson.

magnets word wall vocabulary

Since I love to draw and make things colorful, this next part is one of my favorites. Anchor charts! In my complete lesson sets, I always provide a printable anchor chart so you don’t have to do all the drawing and coloring if you don’t want to. Plus, they make great printables for student learning pages – or- go great as the input section of the interactive notebook activities. You can see what the anchor chart and its fill-in-the-blank & color-it-in option look like here.

magnet anchor chart

And now, the interactive notebook. I absolutely love interactive notebooks because they are fun for kids (coloring page + creative thinking page), and can be even more fun when you add the moveable parts. Take a look at the magnet activities I have.

magnets isn

magnets isn image

And, look at the moving parts in action!

And now for my favorite part of any lesson: Hands-on learning to experience the concept first hand. For magnets, I decided to do three learning stations to allow students to explore how magnets work. How the poles interact with same and different poles of other magnets. How magnets pull magnetic objects to them. And, its all done in super fun race challenges! I can’t wait for you to see how much fun your students can have learning about magnets!

magnets investigation

For the magnet lesson, I also wanted to add a special teacher input that took what they learned first hand in the classroom and added how magnets are used in the real world all around them. This Magnets in the Real World foldable will help them learn some ways magnets are used as they put the book together and color it. Each page is filled with images to color with a description of how magnets are used in that category.

magnet bonus flip book

After all that fun learning, I end each lesson with some activities to process the lesson and show you what they learned. There are three activities for this part of the lesson. I like to use the STEM project as additional exploration of the topic by letting their curious, creative thinking explore the concept in new ways a little bit deeper than what they have learned so far. This is a great student-led, PBL type of activity. Then, the analyzing data and the Critical Thinking Writing activity pages can be used for formative assessments for this lesson.

magnets processing

I hope that this gives you some great ideas to get your magnets lesson rolling! You can find more complete lesson sets and learning materials for grades prek-8 in my store. AND, I even have Full year curriculum bundles to save you tons of time and money! Thousands of districts and teachers around the country are already using these amazing bundles!!

Enjoy your Magnets lesson, and watch for more of these posts coming soon!

-Elementary Ali


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