Friday, December 14, 2012

Measuring Repulsion & Attraction With A Ruler

I love magnets! Even as a kid I enjoyed carrying magnets with me everywhere I went. I still remember the first time I stuck a magnet up to my grandmothers TV (Opps!). Although the study of magnetic properties can be pretty involving, magnets themselves offer great ways to bring simple lessons to life. In this lesson we will measure the effects of repulsion & attraction when two magnets interact. We will measure their interaction with a ruler.

What You Will Need

  • Rulers

  • Various Size/shape magnets (preferably labeled A, B, C...)

  • Activity Sheet


Students will use various magnets to measure repulsion and attraction. Using a ruler, students can use the same polarity to repel the other magnet and record the distance of that repulsion. Next, using the same two magnets, students can use opposite sides of polarity to measure the distance along the ruler from which two magnets attract one another (be careful with the fingers!)


Step 1: Create groups of partners and give each group a ruler, bag of magnets and activity sheet.

Step 2: Have groups spread out along the floor

Step 3: Have student pick two magnets and use a ruler to measure the distance upon which they attract, and repel.

Step 4: Filling in activity sheet

Activity Sheet

1) Magnet______ and Magnet_____

a) Attraction begins slightly at _______cm apart.

b) Repulsion begins slightly at _______cm apart

c) When set beside each other they repel ____cm distance

d) At ______cm the two magnet fully attract (snap together)


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