Applied Science - Physics (4A)
Pre Lab 

  • Exploring physics.
  • Comparing electricity and magnetism.


  • atom
  • electricity
  • electron
  • magnetism
  • neutron
  • phenomena
  • physics
  • proton
  • Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments by R. Graf (reference for teacher)


Students compare electricity and magnetism.


The field of physics is generally broken into discrete categories of mechanics, heat, energy, sound, light, magnetism, electricity, optics and those of atomic or nuclear structure. These traditional topics reflect the historical development of physics throughout the years in search for a unified field theory. A unified theory which can explain how all these forces and energy, in the Universe, work together. The search of a grand unified theory of all matter, sometimes border on ingenuity than it does on concrete facts. Recent theoretical investigations point to symmetry as an underlying law of physics. This "supersymmetry" could have been broken as the Universe evolved. Physicists are now trying to put the symmetry back together. This almost sounds fun!

Physics is a fundamental science which explains most phenomena that occurs in our world. Physics can be explained as the study of matter and energy. Physics is made up of many different components.


  1. Ask students what "phenomena" can be considered physics. Make a list of their answers on the board and try to draw out the following topics: motion, force, energy, matter, sound, electricity, magnetism, light and atoms.
  2. Introduce electricity and magnetism. Explain that electricity and magnetism are not completely understood. There are many proposed theories but no one knows the complete answer. Discuss the structure of the atom. Make sure students understand that the nucleus contains protons and neutrons. The outer shells of the atom have electrons that spin in different orbits. It is the movement of these electrons when they "escape" from the atom that cause electricity; and the spinning direction, when still part of the atom, that causes magnetism. Electricity and magnetism are fundamentally related through electrons. Students will learn that electricity can make magnetism and magnetism can make electricity. It is important to repeat this to your students. Review some of the third grade labs if students seem confused.
  3. Electricity is energy produced through the movement of electrons. Electricity has no color, weight, or odor. Electricity produces energy in the form of a "charge." If the charge is not controlled, it is called "static electricity." If the charge is controlled it is called an "electrical current."
  4. Magnetism is a force that is produced because of the spin of electrons in the same direction. Magnetism has no color, weight, or odor. Ask students to give examples of observable electrical and magnetic forces and write them on the board. Students should remember basic principles from the third grade. Refresh their memory.






lodestone (magnetite)





turn on appliances

magnetic resonance image
  (MRI - machine that looks at the image of your body without surgery)


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