Magnetism Stations NGSS MS-PS2-3 MS-PS2-5 Integrated 5e Earth’s Magnetic Poles



Your students will be blown away at how fun and interesting magnets can be! This NGSS 3-Dimensional 5E is engaging, rigorous and easy prep! The materials are inexpensive, and my teacher notes will make classroom management easy so that you have a classroom full of engaged and on-task students! This resource is integrated and hits the NGSS disciplinary core ideas PS2.B: Types of Interactions (magnetism) and ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System.

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Students first access their background knowledge by trying to answer the question, “What is a magnet and how does the magnetic field around Earth keep us safe?” I tell students it’s ok to be wrong, it’s just a guess, but they can’t write, “I don’t know?”. Students will come back to the question for metacognition in the “Explain” section. (5 minutes)

For the Engage, I play a YouTube clip of magnets levitating, titled “Multi Magnetic Levitation | Magnetic Games”. This is the phenomena I use to hook them into the lesson. I play it several times because it is only 1 minute 21 seconds. After watching the YouTube clip, students attempt to explain why the magnets float. (5 minutes)

To start the Explore, I use the PowerPoint for classroom management to help the students with the directions and to explain what my expectations are.

Station 1: Students experiment with metallic and non-metallic objects. Students also observe how different poles attract and alike poles repel. This will help them later to understand how Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the solar winds.

Station 2: Students try to make a paperclip float/levitate that is connected to a thread (see product preview). Students love the challenge and are very engaged!

Station 3: Students turn a nail into an electromagnet using insulated copper wire and a small battery. When they connect the nail to the battery, the nail turns into a magnet and students are able to pick up paperclips because the nail becomes magnetized.

Station 4: Students sprinkle iron filings on to bar magnets and the iron filings create magnetic field lines (see product preview) we otherwise can’t see! This station is the segue to the graphs and the model students create transitioning into the astronomy aspect of this integrated lesson.

As students do the stations, they fill in the “Observations” and “Describe Your Thinking” chart that is very open-ended. 

I give the students 15 minutes per station. (60 minutes)

Students then read the handout/close reading “Magnetism and the Earth”. This reading will help them answer the questions in the Explain section and the model in the Evaluate section. (15 minutes)

In the Extend section students graph the number of sunspots per year and find that there is a correlation with sunspot number and geomagnetic storms on earth. Students also learn that the earth’s magnetic field protects us from harmful magnetically charged particles in the solar winds. (15 minutes)

In the Evaluate section students model how the earth’s magnetic field protects us from the solar winds. This ties in the whole lesson, the vocabulary gets applied to real life and the model allows you to assess your student’s knowledge of the disciplinary core ideas. (30 minutes)

As an added optional “Extend” you can have students read the article on the Earth’s magnetic field moving and fill in the Claim Evidence Reasoning graphic organizer. This is another 30 minutes. I use this as a sub-plan, extra credit or homework.


Station 1: 2 bar magnets and several objects, some metallic and some non-metallic.

Station 2: Approximately 2ft of thin sewing thread, magnet, paper clip and tape.

Station 3: Insulated copper wire, D-Size Battery, Large iron nail and Paper clips.

Station 4: White printer paper in plastic sheet cover, 2 bar magnets and small container of iron filings.

This resource comes with the following:

-Student Handout


-Detailed Teacher Notes

-Magnet Stations Directions

-Editable PowerPoint for student instructions and classroom management

-Close Reading

-Claim Evidence reasoning Graphic Organizer and Article on Earth’s Magnetic pole moving

This resource has the following NGSS Standards:

NGSS Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-3. Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.

MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation that provides evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI)

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

• Electric and magnetic (electromagnetic) forces can be attractive or repulsive, and their sizes depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved and on the distances between the interacting objects. (MS-PS2-3)

• Forces that act at a distance (electric, magnetic, and gravitational) can be explained by fields that extend through space and can be mapped by their effect on a test object (a charged object, or a ball, respectively). (MS-PS2-5)

ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (SEP)

Asking questions and defining problems in grades 6–8 builds from grades K–5 experiences and progresses to specifying relationships between variables, and clarifying arguments and models.

Ask questions that can be investigated within the scope of the classroom, outdoor environment, and museums and other public facilities with available resources and, when appropriate, frame a hypothesis based on observations and scientific principles. (MS-PS2-3)

Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (MS-ESS1-1) (MS-ESS1-2)

NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts (CCC)

Cause and Effect

Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. (MS-PS2-3),(MS-PS2-5)

Systems and System Models

Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, and matter flows within systems. (MS-PS2-1),(MS-PS2-4),

Stability and Change

Explanations of stability and change in natural or designed systems can be constructed by examining the changes over time and forces at different scales. (MS-PS2-2)

This resource has the following integrated concepts:

Magnetic field or Magnetosphere

Magnetic field lines

Magnetic Poles

Magnetic Domains


Repulsion and attraction of magnets

Non-contact forces

Earth as a large magnet

Sun Spot

Solar Flare

Solar Wind

Magnetically Charged Particles

North and South Poles

Aurora or Northern Lights


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