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published by the PhET
written by Trish Loeblein
This web page features an inquiry-based instructional module created specifically for use with the PhET simulation Magnets and Electromagnets. It includes a lesson plan with learning goals, a Power Point presentation designed to introduce secondary students to magnets, and "clicker" elicitation questions. The author, a teacher of high school physics, developed the lesson with these objectives: 1) compare and contrast bar magnets/electromagnets; 2) identify characteristics of electromagnets; 3) relate magnetic field strength to distance; and 4) compare and contrast gravitational field and magnetic field.

This resource is part of the PhET project (Physics Education Technology) a growing collection of simulations and curriculum support for teachers and learners of physics, biology, chemistry, and earth science.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Induction
= Induced Currents and Forces
= Motors and Generators
- Magnetic Fields and Forces
= Fields and Currents
= Force on Wires
= Interacting Magnets
= Magnetic Fields
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Lecture/Presentation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Student Guide
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- text/html
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 2 license. Additional information is available.
Rights Holder:
PHET and University of Colorado
bar magnet, clicker questions, compass, electromagnet, electromagnet simulation, generator, magnetic field, magnetism lesson plan, magnetism power point
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created December 2, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 1, 2009
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4G. Forces of Nature
  • 6-8: 4G/M3. Electric currents and magnets can exert a force on each other.
  • 9-12: 4G/H1. Gravitational force is an attraction between masses. The strength of the force is proportional to the masses and weakens rapidly with increasing distance between them.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G (9-12) #5.  Magnetic forces are very closely related to electric forces and can be thought of as different aspects of a single electromagnetic force. Moving electric charges produce magnetic forces and moving magnets produce electric forces. The interplay of electric and magnetic forces is the basis for electric motors, generators, and many other modern technologies, including the production of electromagnetic waves.
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. Loeblein, , Version 1.02 (PhET, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (
T. Loeblein, PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction, Version 1.02 (PhET, Boulder, 2005), <>.
APA Format
Loeblein, T. (2009, September 1). PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from PhET:
Chicago Format
Loeblein, Trish. PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction. Boulder: PhET, September 1, 2009. (accessed 17 April 2024).
MLA Format
Loeblein, Trish. PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction. Vers. 1.02. Boulder: PhET, 2005. 1 Sep. 2009. 17 Apr. 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Trish Loeblein", Title = {PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {17 April 2024}, Month = {September 1, 2009}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A Trish Loeblein %T PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction %D September 1, 2009 %I PhET %C Boulder %U %O 1.02 %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %A Loeblein, Trish %D September 1, 2009 %T PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction %I PhET %V 2024 %N 17 April 2024 %7 1.02 %8 September 1, 2009 %9 text/html %U

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PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Magnets-Introduction:

Accompanies PhET Simulation: Magnets and Electromagnets

A link to the PhET simulation Magnets and Electromagnets, which this lesson was developed to accompany.

relation by Caroline Hall

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