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Static Electric and Magnetic Fields Middle School

static electricity and magnetic fields

In middle school, students learn about fields of energy like magnetic fields and static electric fields.  It can be tricky to teach about something the students cannot see.  This is precisely the point, students are expected to provide evidence that a field exists.

NGSS MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
Another related idea is that you can measure the strength of a field and record evidence.
MS-PS2-3. Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. [Clarification Statement: Examples of devices that use electric and magnetic forces could include electromagnets, electric motors, or generators.
I took these two standards and put together a unit that I think is really interesting.
Static Electricity Middle School
Students first need some background information on what is happening at an atomic level.  I have a slideshow for this.
Electrons and Protons in Static Electricity
Student will next do some hands-on experiments to prove the existence of a field.
Static Electricity Balloons Repelling
Balloon static electricity and salt

Students will also study magnetism and discuss the field.  Next students will build an electromagnet.  They will conduct fair tests to see if they can increase the strength of the magnetic field by changing one variable.


Students will evaluate their design.

Also, students will think about what is happening on an atomic level.  Students will make a model to show their understanding. MS PS1-1

Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures. 

Making a model of static electricity molecules

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Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

Static Electricity Middle School Unit

Aligns with Utah SEEd 7th Grade standards also.

Standard 7.1.3 
Construct a model using observational evidence to describe the nature of fields that exist between objects that exert forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact. Emphasize the cause and effect relationship between properties of objects (such as magnets or electrically-charged objects) and the forces they exert. (PS2.B)
Standard 7.1.4 
Collect and analyze data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces. Examples could include electromagnets, electric motors, or generators. Examples of data could include the effect of the number of turns of wire on the strength of an electromagnet, or of increasing the number or strength of magnets on the speed of an electric motor. (PS2.B)
Please stop by more store and see all my resources for middle NGSS and Utah SEEd                                Teaching Science With Lynda Store

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