In this enquiry we will be learning all about how things move on different surfaces, forces linked to materials and magnets. Use the information and links below to help during our enquiry.
Magnets have north poles and south poles. These attract each other. But two north poles will repel each other, as will two south poles. Iron is magnetic, so any metal with iron in it will be attracted to a magnet. Most other metals, like aluminium, copper or gold, are not magnetic.
When two magnets are close, they create pushing or pulling forces on one another. These forces are strongest at the ends of the magnets. The two ends of a magnet are known as the north pole and the south pole.
Same poles repel
If you try to put two magnets together with the same poles pointing towards one another, the magnets will push away from each other. We say they repel each other. In this picture two north poles are pushing away from each other (repelling each other).
Different poles attract
If you put two magnets together with different poles pointing towards one another, the magnets will pull towards each other. We say they attract each other. In this picture a north and a south pole are pulling towards each other (attracting each other).
Some magnets are stronger than others. Strong magnets will create bigger pushing or pulling forces than weak magnets.
Magnets can attract other magnets but they can also attract magnetic materials. Magnetic materials are always metals but only a few metals are magnetic. Iron IS magnetic, so any metal with iron in it will be attracted to a magnet. Steel contains iron, so a steel paperclip, for example, will be attracted to a magnet. Most other metals, for example aluminium, copper and gold, are NOT magnetic. An aluminium drinks can, for example, will not be attracted to a magnet.
Play the BBC Magnets game by clicking the picture below