Forces and magnets

Year 3

Unit Overview

In the Forces and Magnets project, your child will learn what forces are and what they do. They will learn about pushing and pulling forces and sort different actions into pushes and pulls. They will identify and explain contact forces. They will learn about and investigate frictional forces. They will use force meters to measure the forces needed to carry out everyday tasks and record their measurements. They will learn about magnetism (a non-contact force) and explore bar magnets. They will find out about magnetic attraction, repulsion and magnetic fields. They will test the magnetic properties of different objects. They will learn about the uses of friction and magnetism and carry out research. They will use different methods to investigate the strength of magnets.


We will be undertaking lots of different explorations and investigations finding out about magnets and friction.


Children will be writing up their investigations in their booklets.


Exploring friction on the climbing frame and in the playground.

Unit Sequence: Learning Intentions

  1. What is a force? -To understand what a force is.

  2. Points of contact -To understand forces can happen when 2 surfaces touch - friction.

  3. Frictional forces -To understand what friction is. (Investigation 3 using school slide and differing materials)

  4. What does friction do? - investigation 3 using shoes and Newton meters.

  5. Forces and magnets -To introduce non-contact forces through magnets.

  6. Magnetic forces of attraction and repulsion. (Investigation 1.)

  7. Measuring and recording magnetic strength. (Investigation 2)

Scientific Enquiry: Investigations

  1. Exploring magnetism?

    • Exploring a range of materials to see if they are magnetic or not.

  2. How mighty are magnets?

    • Working in groups, children conduct three tests with different magnets. In test one, they use a magnet to attract a paperclip through pieces of paper. In test two, children work out how many paperclips or ball bearings their magnet will attract. In test three, they measure how much force it takes to separate a magnet and a paperclip using a spring balance.

  3. What does friction do?

    • Predict and then test different materials for friction.

    • Record their results and draw conclusions.


In groups children will create simple posters to display the their learning from the topic.


The children will have access to non-fiction texts related to the topic.