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Target Audience:

11th and 12th grade Physics class

Objectives:

Students Will Be Able To:

• Observe period motion through a pendulum.

• Explore the variables that affect a pendulum.

• Use the equation for the period of a pendulum to solve periodic motion

equations.

• Assess student knowledge of pendulums and the related variables.

• Correct misconceptions relating to pendulums and simple harmonic motion.

Standards Assessed: New York State Standards for The Physical Setting

4.1 Observe and describe transmission of various forms of energy.

iv. determine the factors that affect the period of a pendulum

Misconception(s) Addressed:

• The mass and starting angle of a pendulum have a significant impact on the period of the

pendulum.

• Period and frequency are the same thing.

Aim: Apply discoveries from the lab and period equation to relevant problems.

Necessary Preparation:

COPIES

• Pendulum Lab Worksheets from last class

MATERIALS

SET UP

Becky McCoy

Lesson Plan

Aim: Apply discoveries from the lab and period equation to relevant problems.

Students share the pendulum examples they found for homework with partner or tablemates.

Combine several tables and have students share with larger group. Have a few volunteers share a

few examples; especially ones they didn’t realize were pendulums.

Materials:

• Pendulum Lab worksheets from last class

Procedure:

Write the equation for the period of a pendulum on the board: T=2π *sqrt(l/g) and point out that

the only changing variable is string length (l).

A swinging pendulum is most closely related to free fall because the ball wants to fall directly

downward, but cannot because of the string.

The string provides a force of tension that does not allow the mass to

fall downward at the horizontal point it begins, but causes it to swing

until the lowest point (also the point of most KE, so it keeps swinging).

Since this is the same as free fall, we know the mass is negligible. If

students still aren’t convinced, do the mathematical proof showing mass is not influential in free

fall:

F = ma for free fall, the only force is gravitational: mg

mg = ma the masses cancel out, showing that the acceleration is ‘g’

Most pendulums in museums, science centers, etc. have a string length of 15-20m, so by the time

the pendulum is raised to an angle, there is barely any change in height. Therefore, in most

periodic motion problems the angle doesn’t make much change.

However, in the pendulums we are using, the string length is fairly short, so the angle will have a

small affect on the period.

✔ FOR UNDERSTANDING

Becky McCoy

A pendulum of mass 500g and string length 1m is raised to a height of 45 degrees. What is the

period?

Have students take out their lab sheet.

dampened nor driven.

Remind students that this ideal situation doesn’t occur because of friction.

A SHO undergoes SIMPLE HARMONIC MOTION, vibratory motion in a system in which the

restoring force is proportional to the displacement from equilibrium. F = -kx

Allow students time to calculate the theoretical period for each of their trials and the practice

questions. Take a break after 10 minutes to review theoretical and laboratory results.

Practice Questions:

1. What is the length of a pendulum that has a period of 4.4 seconds?

2a. What does the length of a pendulum have to be in order to keep time for a clock (T= 1sec).

2b. What if this pendulum is on the moon (gravity is about 1/6 of earth).

Homework:

Finish Pendulum Lab Sheet.

Students should evaluate their participation, state something they did well and something they

should work on. Then evaluate their understanding of SHM 1-5 (no understanding to total

comfort).

Extension Activity:

Review the spring pendulum and how it is used to measure seismic waves using Wolfram

Demonstration: http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/VerticalPendulumSeismometer/

Assessment:

Formative:

• Student answers during small group and large group discussion.

• Student homework responses.

• Exit cards.

Becky McCoy

Resources: n/a

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