How to Teach Students About Magnets and Magnetic Forces

If you are teaching science in your elementary classroom, you may be looking for ways to teach magnets! Today, I am going to talk about some tips and tricks for teaching magnets and magnetic force to your primary kiddos. These magnet activities and ideas are low-prep, easy to implement, and lesson plan savers!

Introduce Magnet Vocabulary

Magnet vocabulary anchor chart for teaching magnets

First, you will want to introduce magnet vocabulary to your students. In science, pre-teaching vocabulary can be extremely beneficial. Students will know what keywords and important concepts to look for throughout the unit. So, make a simple anchor chart like the one above. Write a heading and list the important vocabulary/concepts that you will want your kiddos to understand throughout the unit. This may vary, depending on the grade level you teach and how in-depth your lessons will go.

Anchor charts can become activities when you make them interactive. So, for this magnet activity, consider having students act out the different terms, draw vocabulary pictures or posters, or play a round of Mix-Pair-Share with vocab-matching cards!

Time to Dive In: Read and Watch All About Magnets

Magnet mentor texts, read alouds, books for teaching magnets

Of course, you will want some read alouds or reference books for your students during this unit. These 5 magnet books are great for young learners, with clear, simple descriptions and engaging photos and illustrations!

BrainPop video for teaching magnets

Another way for your students to find clear and concise explanations for science topics is to use BrainPop and BrainPop, Jr. videos! These have excellent visuals and they always highlight important terms. This magnet video is just a few minutes long and can be added to any whole group lesson, or independent study assignment. Link the video to your online dashboard for virtual or digital instruction. The graphic organizers, quizzes, and other interactive activities are great add-ons, as well!

Printable Science and Reading activities for teaching magnets and magnetic forces

Another way for your students to learn about magnets and their properties is to use reading and writing activities that connect to magnets. Cross-curricular skills will come into use when you use printable or digital magnet reading passages and writing activities! You can assess your students’ knowledge with cut-and-paste sorting pages, or interactive notebook printables!

Link: Magnets Unit

Hands-On Exploration

Hands-on magnet activities for your elementary science students

Additionally, your students will need some hands-on experience with magnetic and non-magnetic materials. Hands-on magnet activities can be simple and fun!

You will need magnets and items of various materials. One way to prep this activity for easy distribution and collection is to use egg cartons. Put a small piece of each material in every egg holder. Students can test if a material is magnetic and return the item to its spot easily and stay on track. In magnet testing, students will need to record their observations and look for similarities in their findings. *Another great way to use these egg carton magnet kits is in centers. If you only have enough magnets or materials for 5 students to use at a time, make one station the exploration station. Then, use reading passages, matching or cut-and-paste activities, videos, writing, etc., in the other stations. The egg cartons make it easy enough for students to keep the materials organized for the next group!

Printable Science and Reading activities for teaching magnets and magnetic forces, free matching game

Here is an example of a magnet activity that can be used at one of your centers or stations! Or, it can be done with partners! This free, printable matching game allows students to sort objects and items into categories: magnetic, or non-magnetic! You can get this printable free when you sign up for my email list with the link below!


When you sign up, you’ll be delivered this FREE MAGNETIC OR NONMAGNETIC SORTING ACTIVITY directly to your email inbox.

Suggested Resources Your Students Will Love

Finally, here is a no-prep unit with everything you need to teach about magnets: KWL, reading passages, cut-and-paste activities, fact writing, mini-books, and more! If you’re an on-the-go teacher and need something low-prep or all-inclusive, this is a great set for you! It comes in both printable and digital formats, meaning you could teach the entire unit without using a piece of paper!

Or, check out the flipbook where students can read and write about the plants while creating a fun craft. Finally, here is a set of presentation slides and scripts to teach about plants without having to make your own! These resources are great for your Weather unit! Grab one of these to make your planning and prep so much simpler. Click the buttons below to get a closer look:

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