Playful Lesson Planning...
Strand: Energy and Forces
Strand Unit: Magnetism
1) Investigate the fact that magnets attract certain materials
2) Use magnets of different shapes and sizes in purposeful play to explore their effects on various materials
Skills: carry out simple investigations, make observations and collect Data
Focus Language: Materials, magnets, magnetism, attract, attach, metal, copper, screws, fabric, wood, plastic
It is always nice to start a new lesson by gathering together to have a group chat on the carpet. To start off the discussion I ask the children if they know what materials are? Language is the foundation of infant learning, so never assume the children have an understanding of vocabulary in a lesson. A child will happily sit their smiling away as you talk while at the same time, not having a clue what you're talking about.
I say: "Materials are all around us! Look around the room and tell me what you can see?"
They say: "a chair, windows, the rug... etc"
We chat about what each of these things are made from. Lots of different materials.
Next we look to our display board to talk about the different materials we can see in the windows. I made this display using recycled objects from ReCreate and loose parts from the classroom collection. The 'windows' are plastic lids stuck on with a glue gun but small sandwich bags would work equally well and if stuck at the top end, would lift nicely from the board if magnetic. This homemade display makes a perfect interactive display. You can add some of your record sheets around it
I say: " Today we are going to learn about magnets. What did you learn about magnets last year?"
They say: "They stick to things, they stick to the fridge, they stick to metal, they stick together!"
Finally before we go off to the next part of the lesson we set a question to get us thinking while we explore.
"Why does this happen? Is it magic!?"
In pairs or groups the children head off to explore their own collection of magnets and record their findings.
Directions (infants need the most simple procedure instruction starting with a verb) Use a visualizer if you have one the model this procedure.
Finally I put the children into groups. Each group has to hunt around the class to find magnetic objects and return them to the collection area. Each child has their own magnetic wand. Winner is the group with the most objects.
To finish off the lesson you can come back to the question you contemplated at the start. "Why does the magnet attract the steel items? "
Then show them this short video, it's a little complex but it should get them thinking.
We all know that hands-on learning is so important for many reasons and this is an example of one of them. Later this same day, when the children were having their Aistear play time they are free to explore this learning on their terms using their child-led playful ideas. I will continue to expand on this learning objective over the coming week and by the end of the week I will assess how their understanding of magnetism has improved. Had I simply taught this objective using a work sheet, I guarantee you the children wouldn't have brought it into their play.
I would like to thank the children who kindly consented to having their work samples and/or photographs used on this website. Infant Education was granted parental permission for the participation of their children on this website.
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