Magnets, Electricity, and Energy
This article has information on science projects involving magnets, electricity, and energy. The article includes suggestions for magnet, electricity, and energy for 1st-4th grades, 5th-8th grades, and 9th-12th grades.
Science Projects: Magnets, Electricity, and Energy
These suggestions for science projects will help students extend their learning about magnets and electricity. Some tips are included to help at each band of grade levels. You will see that suggestions for elementary students are largely based on practice of direct observation and simple measurement. Intermediate and high school students are more likely to do research and think about, and construct arguments on various issues and topics. Projects are adaptable: you can easily make them simpler or more difficult. In addition you can modify projects from a band of grades higher or lower than your child’s level if it fits your child and curriculum.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade
Tips: It’s likely that you will need to help elementary students with planning and carrying out any long-term projects, and helping record observations for students whose writing skills are not developed enough for the task.
- Classify objects around the house as metal and nonmetal. Make up an experiment to classify the metal objects as magnetic or nonmagnetic.
- After doing the first project, use the findings to make predictions about other objects.
- Given a bunch of unmarked magnets, find the north and south poles.
- Make up a game using a magnet compass and giving someone directions to find something.
- Build a parallel circuit. Create a diagram to show it.
- Build a series circuit. Create a diagram to show it.
- Compare and contrast your diagrams of series and parallel circuits.
- Diagram a magnetic field.
- Use a “WoolyWilly” toy and see what you can discover about magnets.
- Figure out what you would have to do in your house to spend a day without anybody using any electricity at all.
- Construct an electromagnet. Describe how it differs from a permanent magnet.
- Create an illustration to show Ben Franklin’s electricity experiments.
- Make a chart showing uses of electricity and possible substitutes.
- Make a chart showing uses of other sources of energy that are or can be substituted for by electricity.
- Choose your favorite one of Thomas Edison’s inventions that uses electricity. Now imagine what life would be like without it.
5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade
Tips: The intermediate projects are designed to be more challenging, appropriate for students who can be somewhat independent as they carry out the tasks.
- Write a biography of a famous person who contributed to our understanding or use of energy, for example: Tesla, Faraday, Diesel, Ford, Edison, Franklin, or Ohm.
- Explain brown outs and black outs and what brings them about.
- Create a diagram to compare potential and kinetic energy.
- Invent a use for static electricity.
- Find out how solar and wind energy are being used in your state.
- Make a chart showing your family’s energy use for a month. Make a proposal to your family about a way to reduce energy use. Alternatively, make a proposal for switching some energy use to a different energy source.
- Explain the meaning of the term carbon footprint and its relationship to energy use.
- Make a map of energy sources in your state, including hydroelectric plants, any nuclear power plants, etc.
- Explain how solar power works is gathered and put to use by and for people.
9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade
Tips: These ideas can be adapted or extended by you or the student to fit the curriculum or to alter the project to fit their initial findings or discoveries. When students do extended projects they will benefit from intermediate check-ins.
- Make a list of energy sources that have an alternative use that is undermined when they are used for energy. Then list sources that are not destroyed by being used for energy.
- If you had to cut your energy use in half, how would you change your life? Make a plan that shows current energy use and projected use with your plan in place.
- Figure out your family’s carbon footprint.
- Research the medical uses of magnets. Make sure you both read the latest findings and do a broad enough review to get the full picture.
- Compare Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with CAT scans and X-rays for usefulness, side effects, etc.
- Analyze the hybrid cars currently available. What advantages does being able to switch between energy sources have? Which of the cars do you think is best and why?
- Design a study that uses the price of various energy sources as part of its data.