In recent years, the development of new magnetic materials has shown extraordinary advances. The remarkable strength of the latest generation of ‘rare earth magnets’, or ‘supermagnets’, is finding a wide range of applications – from fasteners in clothing and jewellery, to heavy-duty industrial clamps. Students find these magnets fascinating to explore, and there is a wide range of possibilities for using supermagnets in practical
activities for KS3 students. They can be used to complement the standard practical work that already exists for teaching about key ideas such as magnetic poles, magnetic fields and shielding; in addition, SEP has developed a kit for doing quantitative investigative work.