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Defying Gravity

3.4 based on 114 ratings

Updated on May 29, 2013

Grade Level: 3rd - 5th; Type: Physical Science


To investigate how magnetism can defy the force of gravity.

Research Questions

  • Can the force of gravity be defied?
  • Which is more powerful: gravity or magnetism?

Gravity is a force that pulls all things to the earth. Magnetism is another very strong force that is even stronger than gravity.


  • shoebox
  • thread
  • paperclip
  • small magnet
  • tape

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather the necessary materials.
  2. Tie a piece of thread to the paperclip.
  3. Stand a shoebox vertically. Tape the end of the thread not tied to paperclip to the bottom of the shoebox so that the paperclip almost reaches the top of the box.
  4. Place the magnet on top of the box. Bring the paperclip to the top of the box and let go. Record the results.
  5. Remove the magnet. Record the results.

Terms/Concepts: gravity: the force that causes all things to fall toward the center of the earth magnetism: a force caused by a magnet; Gravity and magnetism are both strong forces. Gravity pulls things toward the earth. Magnetism can pull things against gravity.


“Magnetism” at “Kid Facts about Magnets” by Jason Thompson at

Nancy Rogers Bosse has been involved in education for over forty years - first as a student, then as a teacher, and currently as a curriculum developer. For the last fifteen years she has combined a career in freelance curriculum development with parenthood - another important facet of education and probably the most challenging. Nancy lives in Henderson, Nevada with husband and their three teenagers.