Breaking the Force

Mrs. Hoffman’s science students are learning about the force of magnetism by conducting experiments using balance scales, washers, plastic spacers, and magnets.

One end of the scales included a magnet on the top of a post. When another magnet was dropped into the cup above the post, a magnetic force was created. Students then added washers to the opposite end of the balance until the force between the magnets was broken.

After students determined the number of washers needed to break the force between the magnets, they added a plastic spacer between the magnets and repeated their experiment, recording the number of washers that broke the force between the magnets with one spacer between them. Based on the results, students predicted the number of washers that would break the force between the magnets if two spaces were added, and then tested their predictions.

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