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 magnetism of the Earth and how this enables compasses to work. They will use this knowledge to make compasses. 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.


Investigation 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.

  3. Frictional forces-To understand what friction is.

  4. Investigation-What does friction do?

  5. Forces and magnets. -To take measurements using standard units of measurement.

  6. Measuring and recording frictional forces- Compare how objects move over surfaces made from different materials.

Scientific Enquiry: Investigations

  1. Can you block magnetism?

    • The children plan an investigation to design and create a β€˜shield’ made from different materials to see if they can use it to block magnetism.

  2. How mighty are magnets?

    • Working in groups, children conduct three tests with up to five 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. Why do magnets attract and repel?

    • To predict magnetic field patterns.

    • To observe and record magnetic field patterns.

  4. What does friction do?

    • Predict and then test different materials for friction.

    • Record their results and draw conclusions.


Children will design and create a β€˜shield’ made from different materials to see if they can use it to block magnetism.