Students investigate a phenomenon of how the magnets on a magnetic ring toy appear to levitate and how, after compressing and releasing them, the magnets spring up into the air. Over the unit, students learn about balanced and unbalanced forces to work towards explaining how and why the gaps between magnets are different sizes and how the magnets move or ‘float’ in particular ways.
This unit is structured into two sets of lessons. First, students learn about pushes and pulls, material properties, magnetic fields, and how multiple forces can act on one object to explain how the magnetic ring toy works. Then, students ask questions, design and conduct their own investigations, and write an informational text to answer their testable questions about magnets and magnetism. Ultimately, students develop and revise evidence-based models to explain how the magnetic ring toy works and then apply these ideas to explain their investigation data and other magnetic force-related phenomena that we use in everyday life.