Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and …

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and data collection using Android® devices. First, student groups create pendulums that hang from the classroom ceiling, using Android smartphones or tablets as the bobs, taking advantage of their built-in accelerometers. With the Android devices loaded with the (provided) AccelDataCapture app, groups explore the periodic motion of the pendulums, changing variables (amplitude, mass, length) to see what happens, by visual observation and via the app-generated graphs. Then teams conduct formal experiments to alter one variable while keeping all other parameters constant, performing numerous trials, identifying independent/dependent variables, collecting data and using the simple pendulum equation. Through these experiments, students investigate how pendulums move and the changing forces they experience, better understanding the relationship between a pendulum's motion and its amplitude, length and mass. They analyze the data, either on paper or by importing into a spreadsheet application. As an extension, students may also develop their own algorithms in a provided App Inventor framework in order to automatically note the time of each period.

The Drawing Board consists of a marking pen that remains stationary and …

The Drawing Board consists of a marking pen that remains stationary and a platform that swings beneath the pen, acting as a pendulum. As the platform swings, the pen marks a sheet of paper that is fastened to the platform, generating beautiful repetitive patterns. These colorful designs contain hidden lessons in physics. This resource includes instructions for making a large-scale Drawing Board as well.

In this demonstration, evidence of the Earth's rotation is observed. A tripod, …

In this demonstration, evidence of the Earth's rotation is observed. A tripod, swiveling desk chair, fishing line and pendulum bob (e.g., fishing weight or plumb bob) are required for the demonstration. This resource is from PUMAS - Practical Uses of Math and Science - a collection of brief examples created by scientists and engineers showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes have real world applications.

Students learn about the Foucault pendulum an engineering tool used to demonstrate …

Students learn about the Foucault pendulum an engineering tool used to demonstrate and measure the Earth's rotation. Student groups create small experimental versions, each comprised of a pendulum and a video camera mounted on a rotating platform actuated by a LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT motor. When the platform is fixed, the pendulum motion forms a line, as observed in the recorded video. When the rotating, the pendulum's motion is observed as a set of spirals with a common center. Observing the patterns that the pendulum bob makes when the platform is rotating provides insight as to how a full-size Foucault pendulum operates. It helps students understand some of the physical phenomena induced by the Earth's rotation, as well as the tricky concept of how the perception of movement varies, depending on one's frame of reference.

After watching a 1940 film clip of the "Galloping Gertie" bridge collapse …

After watching a 1940 film clip of the "Galloping Gertie" bridge collapse and a teacher demo with a simple pendulum, student groups discuss and then research the idea of motion that repeats itself specifically the concepts of periodic and harmonic motion. They become aware of where and how these types of motion occur and affect them in everyday applications, both natural (seasons, tides, waves) and engineered (swings, clocks, mechanical systems). They learn the basic properties of this type of motion (period, amplitude, frequency) and how the rearrangement of the simple pendulum equation can be used to solve for gravitational acceleration, pendulum length and gravity. At lesson end, students are ready to conduct the associated activity during which they conduct experiments that utilize swinging Android® devices as pendulums.

In this lesson, students are introduced to both potential energy and kinetic …

In this lesson, students are introduced to both potential energy and kinetic energy as forms of mechanical energy. A hands-on activity demonstrates how potential energy can change into kinetic energy by swinging a pendulum, illustrating the concept of conservation of energy. Students calculate the potential energy of the pendulum and predict how fast it will travel knowing that the potential energy will convert into kinetic energy. They verify their predictions by measuring the speed of the pendulum.

Play with one or two pendulums and discover how the period of …

Play with one or two pendulums and discover how the period of a simple pendulum depends on the length of the string, the mass of the pendulum bob, and the amplitude of the swing. It's easy to measure the period using the photogate timer. You can vary friction and the strength of gravity. Use the pendulum to find the value of g on planet X. Notice the anharmonic behavior at large amplitude.

Play with one or two pendulums and discover how the period of …

Play with one or two pendulums and discover how the period of a simple pendulum depends on the length of the string, the mass of the pendulum bob, and the amplitude of the swing. It's easy to measure the period using the photogate timer. You can vary friction and the strength of gravity. Use the pendulum to find the value of g on planet X. Notice the anharmonic behavior at large amplitude.

Students are asked to design simple yet accurate timing devices using limited …

Students are asked to design simple yet accurate timing devices using limited supplies. The challenge is to create a device that measures out a time period of exactly three minutes in order to enable a hypothetical prison escape. Student groups brainstorm ideas using the different materials provided. They observe and explain the effects of conservation of energy.

Students learn what a pendulum is and how it works in the …

Students learn what a pendulum is and how it works in the context of amusement park rides. While exploring the physics of pendulums, they are also introduced to Newton's first law of motion about continuous motion and inertia.

This course teaches the art of guessing results and solving problems without …

This course teaches the art of guessing results and solving problems without doing a proof or an exact calculation. Techniques include extreme-cases reasoning, dimensional analysis, successive approximation, discretization, generalization, and pictorial analysis. Applications include mental calculation, solid geometry, musical intervals, logarithms, integration, infinite series, solitaire, and differential equations. (No epsilons or deltas are harmed by taking this course.) This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

Students examine the motion of pendulums and come to understand that the …

Students examine the motion of pendulums and come to understand that the longer the string of the pendulum, the fewer the number of swings in a given time interval. They see that changing the weight on the pendulum does not have an effect on the period. They also observe that changing the angle of release of the pendulum has negligible effect upon the period.

This activity demonstrates how potential energy (PE) can be converted to kinetic …

This activity demonstrates how potential energy (PE) can be converted to kinetic energy (KE) and back again. Given a pendulum height, students calculate and predict how fast the pendulum will swing by understanding conservation of energy and using the equations for PE and KE. The equations are justified as students experimentally measure the speed of the pendulum and compare theory with reality.

This activity shows students the engineering importance of understanding the laws of …

This activity shows students the engineering importance of understanding the laws of mechanical energy. More specifically, it demonstrates how potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy and back again. Given a pendulum height, students calculate and predict how fast the pendulum will swing by using the equations for potential and kinetic energy. The equations will be justified as students experimentally measure the speed of the pendulum and compare theory with reality.

Students explore how pendulums work and why they are useful in everyday …

Students explore how pendulums work and why they are useful in everyday applications. In a hands-on activity, they experiment with string length, pendulum weight and angle of release. In an associated literacy activity, students explore the mechanical concept of rhythm, based on the principle of oscillation, in a broader biological and cultural context in dance and sports, poetry and other literary forms, and communication in general.

Students experientially learn about the characteristics of a simple physics phenomenon the …

Students experientially learn about the characteristics of a simple physics phenomenon the pendulum by riding on playground swings. They use pendulum terms and a timer to experiment with swing variables. They extend their knowledge by following the steps of the engineering design process to design timekeeping devices powered by human swinging.

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