Building an electromagnet
This online resource gives instructions for a hands-on activity where students learn about electromagnets through designing their own to achieve a set goal.
The students begin with only minimal guidance, and after the basic concept is understood, are informed of the properties that affect the strength of that magnet. They conclude by designing their own electromagnets to complete the challenge of separating scrap steel from scrap aluminium for recycling, and then share their findings with the class.
This activity encompasses the design and testing phases of the engineering design process. Students only have the knowledge of the scientific principles at work and a specific goal to achieve and no one correct way exists to solve the problem. Multiple solutions may work, depending on which factors affecting the design are deemed more important.
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