Year 3: Forces and Magnets

This list consists of lesson plans, activities and video clips to support the teaching of forces and magnets at Year Three. It contains tips on using the resources, suggestions for further use and background subject knowledge. Possible misconceptions are highlighted so that teachers may plan lessons to facilitate correct conceptual understanding. Designed to support the new curriculum programme of study it aims to cover many of the requirements for knowledge and understanding and working scientifically. The statutory requirements are that children are taught to:

• compare how things move on different surfaces

•  notice that some forces need contact between two objects, but magnetic forces can act at a distance

•  observe how magnets attract or repel each other and attract some materials and not others

• compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of whether they are attracted to a magnet, and identify some magnetic materials

•  describe magnets as having two poles

•  predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, depending on which poles are facing.

Visit the primary science webpage to access all lists.

Links and Resources

Badger Science: Foundation and Key Stage One

Page 45 details an investigation which looks at which materials are attracted to magnets and which are not. Children could predict which materials will be magnetic and why, and then test them. Children may be surprised to find that not all metals are magnetic, however only metals which contain iron, nickel or cobalt are magnetic.

Children could go on to investigate the effect of wrapping magnets in paper, cloth, foil and other materials, to find out if they still attract paper clips and other magnetic materials.


publication year
2000 - 2009

3 files



Forces and Magnets

This PowerPoint and teachers' notes provide many ideas for activities and games and is a great place to start when planning lessons on magnetism. Use the visuals to guide children in observing practically how magnets attract or repel each other.

The presentation also explores what happens when magnets are hung from threads, compasses and the use of magnets in everyday items.

publication year
2010 to 2019

2 files



Forces and magnets: amazing magnets

As this may be the first time children will be introduced to forces it is worth looking at various forces. Session A is a good way of assessing their ideas about forces.

They may mention gravity and friction and talk of pushes and pulls. Thinking about forces in action in everyday lives such as: the park, a school playground, the seaside, and drawing  a picture to show where they may see pushes and pulls will help them understand that some forces require contact between them before moving on to looking at magnetic forces which can  act at a distance in another lesson.

Session B on page 13 looks at how magnets attract and repel each other. Children test various materials and group them into those that are magnetic and those that are not magnetic.

publication year
2010 to 2019

18 files


publication year
2010 to 2019

22 files



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