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Physical Sciences K-8: Electromagnetism and Electromagnets Units

An electromagnet works on the principle that an electric current not only allows electrons to flow in a circuit, but also generates a small magnetic field. When a wire carrying electricity is coiled, the magnetic field becomes even stronger. Iron or steel objects surrounded by this coiled electric wire also become magnetized. This combination of electronic energy, coiled wiring and conductive metal object forms the basis of an electromagnet.

  Electromagnetic Induction (1)

Student Tutorials:

This tutorial gives beginning students a grounding in the physics underlying generators and motors.  Clear and concise illustrations help students differentiate the components of each device.  The author devotes careful attention to conductor coils and how they are used to cut through lines of force and strengthen a magnetic field.   Simple graphs depict the cycles of both AC and DC current waves.

  Electromagnetic Radiation and the Spectrum (2)

Lesson Plans:

Kids test the limitations of infrared technology using a TV remote control. After gathering data, they devise a plan for adapting infrared to work around a corner or between rooms. Great way to integrate engineering practice into the physical science classroom. Resource includes teacher and student guides, background information, illustrated procedures, and worksheets.

Item Type: Lab Experiment
Level: Grades 6-10
Duration: 2-3 Class Periods


This three-minute NASA video introduces the seven categories of the electromagnetic spectrum in a way that is understandable for middle and high school students.  Requires Quicktime plug-in to operate.