Explain and Elaborate:
These two are sort of combined in one because students will need some guidance to get to the
idea that this is not a straight line “fit” or “pattern.” Come back after the time limit and discuss
What are the
variables that affect the pendulum’s period? How do they know?
After students have experimented and “found” the variable that effects the period of a
pendulum, have them go online to the PhET Colorado site and play around with the pendulumand change the variables to see what happens to the period of the pendulum.http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/pendulum-lab Give them the challenge problem: What is the period of pendulum that is 2 m long? Have them describetheir reasoning that they use to get their prediction. Two important notes:4.
First: make sure that the strings they have are a length that is at least two times smaller thanwhat the Challenge question is asking for. This way,
they can’t test the answer before making a
Second: Many of them may think that this “curve” is really a straight line. It does look straight if they haven’t taken too many data points yet. The upshot of this is that they will make
predictions that are way too big for the period of a pendulum of two meters. That is good.6.
Have students report their predictions with their reasons.7.
Set up a pendulum that is two meters in length and measure its period; compare to studentpredictions8.
Now students should feel a sense of disequilibrium since they cannot accurately period theperiod. Give them some guidance here:
Use a previous example for data that they collected and the pattern was a straight line.Suppose that is a volume displacement verses number of marbles added graph. Say to
the students, “remember back to the prediction that you made for the number of
marbles needed to cause water to spill out of the graduated cylinder. Why were you
able to make that prediction?” Hopefully students will s
ay that because the pattern waslinear or something similar to that.
The upshot here is that we want to find a “linear” pattern from a curved one (which is
what the pendulum is). But how? You will need to give them guidance.
Try plotting or making a table of T² verses L, or T verses L², or 1/T versus L, etc.This should be done using Microsoft Excel so that students can not onlygenerate charts, but also create accurate.
Have students continue this until they find a linear pattern. This will showstudents an accurate prediction and allow them to find the model.
Once they find the pattern that is linear, have them use it to predict the 2 meter
pendulum’s period. This should be fairly accurate. The period should be around 2.8