8.3 Forces at a Distance – Unit Overview

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How can a magnet move another object without touching it?


Unit Summary

This unit launches with a slow-motion video of a speaker as it plays music. In the previous unit, students developed a model of sound. This unit allows students to investigate the cause of a speaker’s vibration in addition to the effect.

Students dissect speakers to explore the inner workings, and engineer homemade cup speakers to manipulate the parts of the speaker. They identify that most speakers have the same parts–a magnet, a coil of wire, and a membrane. Students investigate each of these parts to figure out how they work together in the speaker system. Along the way, students manipulate the components (e.g. changing the strength of the magnet, number of coils, direction of current) to see how this technology can be modified and applied to a variety of contexts, like MagLev trains, junkyard magnets, and electric motors.

This unit builds towards the following NGSS Performance Expectations (PEs) as described in the OpenSciEd Scope & Sequence: MS-PS2-3, MS-PS2-5, and MS-PS3-2. The OpenSciEd units are designed for hands-on learning, and therefore materials are necessary to teach the unit. These materials can be purchased as science kits or assembled using the kit material list.

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NGSS Design Badge

Awarded: Feb 11, 2020

Awarded To: OpenSciEd Unit 8.3: How Can a Magnet Move Another Object Without Touching It?


Additional Unit Information

Next Generation Science Standards Addressed in this Unit

Unit Placement Information

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Unit External Evaluation