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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 3

Discuss the poles on a magnet

Present the content and language outcomes to the students.

Content learning outcome

  • Explain why magnets attract and repel.

Language learning outcome

  • Accurate use of the article when giving an explanation (A magnet...); simple present tense verb (attracts).

Language structure

  • A magnet attracts .... A magnet repels...


  • To attract, to repel, to tape, some thread, to dangle, a segment, horizontally.

What are the poles on a magnet?

Context embedded demonstration and discussion:

  • Introduce the key vocabulary - to attract and to repel - by writing the words on the whiteboard. Tell the students you will illustrate the meanings.
  • Role play scenarios of attraction and repulsion with students to demonstrate the meanings.
  • Tell the students that magnets attract and repel too and their role is to find out more about this.

Equipment: A pin, a bar magnet, tape and thread.

Process: Groups of three, new learners of English with native speakers. The students read the brief written instructions. Each student takes a turn at being A, B, or C. The students each have a clear, manageable role to play in the group work. The group talk helps build language skills.

  • A Predicts what will happen.
  • B Carries out the experiment. The group discuss the result.
  • C Records what happens and why the group thinks this happens.

Experiment 1: Tape the pin horizontally to the thread. Place the magnet on the table. Bring the hanging pin closer to the magnet.

Experiment 2: Dangle the hanging pin along different parts of the magnet.

Experiment 3: Dangle the pin above the middle of the magnet.

recording sheet (Word 26KB) (write or draw results and explanations). A writing frame will scaffold the learning of the new learners of English.

Concept and language check

The students share their scientific findings in the whole class, the teacher explicitly noticing the scientific forms of writing. Where the language isn't quite on target, ask students to re-phrase.

  • Teacher draws a large rectangular magnet on whiteboard.
  • Divide magnet into five equal segments.
  • In pairs/groups ask students to discuss and decide which letter - A (attract) or R (repel) - goes in each segment. Demonstrate.
Principle 4

Published on: 19 Feb 2018