Push, Pull! Push, Pull!

Contributor: Kaitlyn Zimmerman. Lesson ID: 12476

It's the ultimate game of tug-of-war. Magnets are constantly in "push or pull" mode. A magnet will either push another magnet away or pull it in. Is it being fickle or can you predict what it will do?


Physical Science

learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Fun Fact:

  • Did you know that the most powerful magnet in the world is about 22 times stronger than the magnets used in junkyards to pick up cars?

The average weight of a car that a crane can lift is anywhere from 2.9 tons to 5.4 tons; or in other words, 5,800 to 10,800 pounds!

As you learned in the previous Magnets lessons, found in Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, magnets have the strength to attract other magnetic materials through a surface.

Magnets can be super-powerful. They have the ability to lift heavy objects, even as heavy as 22 times the weight of a car! That’s a lot of weight!

  • Did you know that magnets can push and pull other magnets — all because of the ability to attract and repel them at the poles?

I know this may sound a little confusing, and it may be hard to imagine at first, but it’ll make more sense in a moment.

  • So, are you ready to use your magnets to make a car move?

Maybe not an ACTUAL car, but a car all the same. Let's head on over to Dr. Z’s lab to see what he is doing with magnets today!

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Even though it may not have been an actual car that we moved, you were still able to move a toy car using your very own magnets!

When the north pole side of a magnet was placed close to the side of a south pole magnet, Dr. Z was able to pull the car along! However, you saw that the opposite effect happened when Dr. Z tried putting two similar poles of the magnets together — the magnet began to push the car away!

Magnets contain an invisible force known as the magnetic field, that can either attract or repel other magnets; and they don’t have to be touching to do so!

Move on over to the Got It? section to see how much of what you've learned has "stuck" in your head!

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