This engaging and exciting webquest can be completed individually, with partners, or in groups. The purpose of this webquest is for students to investigate (through simulations) that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
Students are presented with a scenario and must complete an explanation at the end of the webquest.
This activity accesses the student’s prior knowledge and guides them through exploring information, examples, and videos about magnetic and electrical fields.
NGSS Aligned, this webquest fulfills the requirements of the following standard:
MS-PS2-5 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Students who demonstrate understanding can:
MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist
between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in
contact. [Clarification Statement: Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of
magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of
investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is
limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.]
The performance expectation above was developed using the following elements from the NRC document A Framework for K-12 Science Education:
Science and Engineering Practices
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
Planning and carrying out investigations to
answer questions or test solutions to problems
in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and
progresses to include investigations that
use multiple variables and provide evidence to
support explanations or design solutions.
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the
experimental design to produce data to
serve as the basis for evidence that can
meet the goals of the investigation.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
PS2.B: Types of Interactions
Forces that act at a distance
(electric, magnetic, and
gravitational) can be
explained by fields that
extend through space and
can be mapped by their effect
on a test object (a charged
object, or a ball, respectively).
Cause and Effect
Cause and effect relationships
may be used to predict
phenomena in natural or
Observable features of the student performance by the end of the course:
1 Identifying the phenomenon to be investigated
a From the given investigation plan, students identify the phenomenon under investigation, which
includes the idea that objects can interact at a distance.
b Students identify the purpose of the investigation, which includes providing evidence that fields exist
between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
2 Identifying evidence to address the purpose of the investigation
a From the given plan, students identify and describe* the data that will be collected to provide evidence
for each of the following:
i. Evidence that two interacting objects can exert forces on each other even though the two
interacting objects are not in contact with each other.
ii. Evidence that distinguishes between electric and magnetic forces.
iii. Evidence that the cause of a force on one object is the interaction with the second object (e.g.,
evidence for the presence of force disappears when the second object is removed from the
vicinity of the first).
3 Planning the investigation
a Students describe* the rationale for why the given investigation plan includes:
i. Changing the distance between objects.
ii. Changing the charge or magnetic orientation of objects.
iii. Changing the magnitude of the charge on an object or the strength of the magnetic field.
iv. A means to indicate or measure the presence of electric or magnetic forces.
4 Collecting the data
a Students make and record observations according to the given plan. The data recorded may include
i. Motion of objects.
ii. Suspension of objects.
iii. Simulations of objects that produce either electric or magnetic fields through space and the
effects of moving those objects closer to or farther away from each other.
iv. A push or pull exerted on the hand of an observer holding an object.
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5 Evaluation of the design
a Students evaluate the experimental design by assessing whether or not the data produced by the
investigation can provide evidence that fields exist between objects that act on each other even
though the objects are not in contact.