Grade 8Science

Focus: In this unit, students investigate the phenomenon of forces that act through a distance, especially in the case of magnetism. The subtitle of this unit is How can a magnet move another object without touching? This is a phenomenon that all students have some experience with. How can one thing cause movement in another thing that is not touching it at all? What exists between a magnet and an object that the magnet affects? What is a field? How can we observe the effects of a field? This unit allows students to observe the phenomenon of a force acting through a distance in detail and then spend time working with classmates to analyze the shared experience, formulate new questions, and developing new strategies for answering them. Students explore concepts that include the following:

  • What causes a speaker to vibrate?
  • What can a magnet push or pull without touching?
  • What can we figure out about the invisible space around a magnet?
  • How does the magnetic field change when we add another magnet to the system?
  • How does the distance affect the strength of force pairs in a magnetic field?

As students move through their day-to-day activities, they will also read Core Knowledge literacy selections. These include factual articles, history of the sciences, art and literature, spotting bad science in the media and advertisements, graphics comprehension, research-type articles, reliability of sources, and other areas of science literacy.

Lesson Numbers:

  • Teacher Guide: 12 Lessons
  • Student Reader: 5 Collections

Lesson time:

  • Lessons can be completed in one or more class periods.
  • A Pacing Guide, found in Online Resources, offers the suggestion that the entire unit should take about 30 days if class is held each day.
  • A complete list of materials needed to complete the unit is also provided in the Online Resources.
  • The Core Knowledge Student Reader includes on reading collection per week for every week of the unit. A week’s reading collection relates to the lessons completed in the previous week.
    • The reading is assigned at the beginning of the week with the accompanying writing exercise due at the end of the week.
    • The reading and writing exercises are designed to be completed by students independently with brief, supporting, teacher-facilitated discussions at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the week.

Additional Search Terms for the Student Reader:

• science literacy • magnetism • magnet • force • magnetic field • gravity • electrostatic force • non-contact force • orbit • weightlessness • energy transfer • electromagnet • nonfiction • informational text

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