Electric and Magnetic Forces


SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.

People have known about and experienced electricity and magnetism for thousands of years. However, even accomplished ancient scientists viewed them as separate phenomena, as do novice learners today. It took experiments with electricity and magnetism about two hundred years ago to convince scientists that electricity and magnetism were intimately related. Reproduction of these same experiments can be highly effective in helping to move novice learners toward a more sophisticated understanding of electricity and magnetism. Only the most sophisticated learners can understand how electricity and magnetism are aspects of the same fundamental force, electromagnetic force.

Give your students many, rich experiences with electricity and magnetism. Don’t assume that, because they are surrounded by electrical and magnetic applications and sources, they have experimented with them.

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Reviews (13)
  • on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:51 PM

SciGuides are really fantastic.When it's time to teach about electricity, I can be confident knowing I'll have theElectric and Magnetic Forces SciGuide to go to for lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources. I'll be able to create outstanding lessons in a shorter amount of time since many resources are easily accessible in this SciGuide.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:26 PM

This SciGuide was so comprehensive that I wish I had enrolled in this program last year. The amount of content involved in this standard is daunting but what a relief that this SciGuide is able to cover many of the vocabulary with website resources and labs. This SciGuide will strengthen my content knowledge so that I am more confident in my instruction. I am fortunate that I will not be teaching this standard until fourth quarter. This SciGuide will be extremely useful.

James Bright
James Bright

  • on Mon Jan 14, 2013 3:26 AM

The electric and magnetic forces sciguide gives a brief overview of the electric unit and also gives a lot of resources that could be used in lesson plans. One of the most interesting parts of using a sciguide is that it provides resources that offer activities that could fit any type of lesson plan. One of the most salient points that I got from the sciguide was that a lot of the inquiry labs which helped students to understand the content. Introduction to static electricity was an activity which used regular objects to help students answer questions they have about static electricity. I think that making the activities or content an inquiry type of lesson will help students to understand the content better. While reading the sciguide, one of the most salient points that I got from reading through the sciguide is that there are a lot of information. I think that one of the things that I always try to do is to separate the information so that the students can learn the information in chunks. Some of the things that I would try are to try a jig saw activity with the students and also try to make the activity an inquiry activity.

Sung Yi  (Honolulu, HI)
Sung Yi (Honolulu, HI)

  • on Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:17 AM

The Electric and Magnetic Forces SciGuide was an excellent resource. Three fourths of the through the Electric and Magnetic Forces SciPack, I reviewed the SciGuide before planning my lesson. Reviewing the SciGuide was helpful because it provided a brief overview and then broke the topic into three different themes. Within the themes, it was very helpful to see different lessons plans, resources, quizzes for various grade levels. I was able to use the different ideas and resources to help plan my electricity lesson for the 4th graders.

Amy Casey
Amy Casey

  • on Thu May 10, 2012 1:15 AM

The SciPack "Electic and Magnetic Forces" was very informative and provided me with a condensed version of what I learned in the SciPack. I think it did a good job of provided an overview of the important information related to Electric and magnetic Forces and was very easy to read and understand. I liked that it also separated the information into three themes and provided links to resources and also provided the user with lesson plans, sample student work, audio files and simulations to aid in learning. The lesson plans were clear and very easy to follow, however, they were primarily for students grades 5-8. I wish the sciguide provided more lesson plans for high school students.

Shanae  (Kaneohe, HI)
Shanae (Kaneohe, HI)

  • on Wed May 02, 2012 2:37 AM

This SciGuide gives me some good ideas for how to implement the content from the Electric and Magnetic forces SciPak. While I haven't yet been able to implement any of the lessons/ideas due to limitations in my pacing guide, I look forward to trying a few of them next year, particularly the Introduction to Static Electricity activity involving balloons. There's also a cool lab involving magnets and paper clips that integrates a lot of scientific literacy concepts (A Balancing Act!).

Sarah H
Sarah H

  • on Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:51 AM

Although listed for grades 5-8, this SciGuide is appropriate for a high school level conceptual physics course (for regular level or lower level math students). It covers electric charges, forces, conductors and insulators, electric circuits, interaction between electricity and magnetic fields. This is an excellent collection of resources. Many use real world technology and are fun for the students to explore, for example, the build-your-own circuit lab. There are many student-friendly, fun interactive activities like “Electric forces”, “Force, distance, charge”, “Rutherford’s Gold foil experiments” virtual lab where students will enjoy learning about freefall, air resistance etc. I could use the many interactive animations to teach concepts, have them predict what might happen before they carry out the simulation, observe the simulation and reflect on whether they were right or wrong and why. They can also calculate quantities based on the variables used in the simulations. An improvement I would suggest: perhaps add some links for the high school level, maybe for a 12th grade physics class with mathematical applications.


  • on Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:21 PM

Grts 4 stars for sheer number of links. There is almost too much stuff. It should really be split into several sciguides

Dan Carroll  (Arlington, VA)
Dan Carroll (Arlington, VA)

  • on Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:30 PM

Very good. Well organized resources. Listed for 5-8, but good for any level. Nice simulations. Gold foil example is very good.

Dan Carroll  (Arlington, VA)
Dan Carroll (Arlington, VA)

  • on Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:17 PM

I was impressed with this unit for several reasons. First, how easily they explained basic physics of elements, atoms and how electrical currents work. I will especially be incorporating the part dealing the Ammeter as this is critical to our Challenger Center studies. However, the guide went from a simple easy to use lesson, to one that seemed much more advanced. Possibly it should be broken up into several sections so one part could be used for lower grades and the other for upper grades. Ex. Eddy Currents and NDT. Even I was a bit lost on those parts. Overall, worth exploring if looking for concise materials and examples to explain the basic concepts.

Will Kane
Will Kane

  • on Sat Nov 12, 2011 3:44 AM

Electric and Magnetic Forces has 3 themes: Electric Charges with Charge That Balloon lesson plan using static electricity, Electrostatics and Current Electricity with How Much Current? lesson plan using a simple circuit with a magnetic compass as a volt reader, and Electromagnetism with A Balancing Act! lesson plan investigating magnetic forces vs. gravity. In regards to Charge That Balloon lesson, I'm not sure I can adapt the balloon activity to use in my latex free school. However, I found the other 2 lesson plans very interesting and cheap to do with my elementary students. All the lesson plans are easy to understand and doable for my students. The website resources are also excellent. I especially liked the Exploring Magnetism for providing more lesson plans with worksheets and rubrics and Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits for a fun interactive website for the students. I will definitely use this SciGuide for the lessons and web resources with my students.

Judy Okazaki
Judy Okazaki

  • on Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:03 PM

The Electric and Magnetic Forces SciGuide is a wonderful resource to deepen your content knowledge about the forces of electricity and magnetism, and their interaction. It is split into 3 main topics: Electric Charges, Electrostatics and Current Electricity, and Electromagnetism. There are excellent teacher resources and lesson plans that have activities that investigate static electricity and magnetism. There are some great visuals to help explain the relationship to atoms and why some things are magnetic and/or good conductors of electricity. There are other simulations for students to explore the ideas of different charges and how they interact. Overall it is a great resource to deepen your understanding of electricity and magnetism and provides many resources from online simulations and visuals to hands on activities. I did find some sights that were no longer available. Perhaps that can be updated at some point; it was fairly minor as most sights are quite useful and accessable.

Nichole Montague
Nichole Montague

  • on Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:13 PM

I rated this educational media as 3 because it was just average. It was quite short and didn't provide much in the way of detail. It had a limited introduction to the man,setting little historical reference, and didn't include he came about his theory. The visual images were quite plain and the interaction was not exciting. With today's technology, I expected more.

Sonja  (Keaau, HI)
Sonja (Keaau, HI)

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