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Pendulum Practicum Single Lesson Plan Student Teacher: Stavros Mouslopoulos Date: 19/04/2010 Class: Science Stage 5 - Newtown

High School Unit: Catch a Wave Subject: Physics Lesson Topic: Pendulum Practicum I No. of Students: 24 Length of Time: 30 min RATIONALE:
The pendulum practicum is used in order to introduce students into the general ideas associated with the scientific method. This practicum introduces the concepts of observation, scientific hypothesis, experimental data collection/recording, and finally hypothesis testing and conclusions.

Lesson #: 10

Prescribed Focus Areas:
4.2 uses examples to illustrate how models, theories and laws contribute to an understanding of phenomena 5.2 describes the processes that are applied to test and validate models, theories and laws

Knowledge and Understanding:

5.6.1 b) qualitatively describe features of waves including frequency


4.13 clarifies the purpose of an investigation and, with guidance, produces a plan to investigate a problem 4.14 follows a sequence of instructions to undertake a first-hand investigation 4.15 uses given criteria to gather first-hand data 4.19 draws conclusions based on information available 5.17 explains trends, patterns and relationships in data and/or information from a variety of sources 5.19 uses critical thinking skills in evaluating information and drawing conclusions 5.20 selects and uses appropriate strategies to solve problems

Students randomly distributed into 7 groups. Given that there is not enough time to identify (experimentally) the independent variable(s) of the specific problem at hand, students will be asked to hypothesize and argue (based on common sense, previous knowledge of classes on free fall and properties of gravitational force etc.) on the subject. The discussion will be guided by the teacher towards the variable length of the string which will be the independent variable probed by this experiment. Students will be asked to explore the dependence of the period on the length of the string. The hypothesis to test will be: The period of the Pendulum is increasing with its length. The rest of the activity deals with the experimental testing of the previous hypothesis: The period of the pendulum should be measured for at least 5 different lengths of the string. For the determination of the period at each length, students measure the time taken for 10 swings of the mass and subsequently average (i.e. divide by 10 ) in order to reduce the error.

The pendulum practicum is not in the syllabus of Stage 5 (although it is mentioned as Additional

However, its features are related to the waves section of the syllabus, given that it introduces the concepts of frequency, period and amplitude of oscillation (which can be the source of a wave). Obviously, this is a skills focused practicum given that it is introducing basically the all the key ideas of the scientific method: Observation, hypothesis (model), experiment (data collection), Data Analysis and Hypothesis Testing (experimental test for the model). At the present level we are not interested in testing specific model but a simple hypothesis would suffice: e.g. The period increases as a function of the length of the pendulum. etc.


-Stings x 7 -Mass Carriers/Masses x 7 -Meter Rulers x 7 -Protractor x 7 -Strings x 7 -Stop-watches x 7

Time Teacher: Separates the students into 6 groups. Introduces the practicum and relates current practicum with previous lessons. Reminds notion of oscillation, period, frequency, amplitude. Worksheets are distributed. Questions: What is periodic motion? What is oscillation ? What is period ? What is amplitude ? Student Activity Students get ready for the experiment.


Students discuss/answer the questions.


The sample pendulum is in motion. Presents Pendulum and asks the question: What does the period of the pendulum depends on? Mass? Length? Displacement? Gravity? Questions: Which is the depended variable? Which is the independent ? Suggests to explore the independent variable: length. Briefly demonstrates that period increases with length. Students are asked to construct a hypothesis that the experiment will test. They are guided towards: The

Students discuss possible independent variables.

Students construct the hypothesis.

period increases as the length increases.


Purpose of the experiment is stated: Test the hypothesis Experiment Begins Instructions about measuring of the period of the pendulum are handed and orally instructed. First set of measurements are taken with l=0.6m The second with l=0.7m The third with l=0.8m The fourth with l=0.9m The fifth with l=1.0m Students set up their pendulums. Students listen/read the instructions. Students take measurements i.e. record the time for 10 swings of the pendulum for each length.

Students are asked to present and plot their results. Where is the location of the dependent/independent variable on the graph ?

Students construct a table / fill the table on the worksheet. Students make a graph of the period versus length on the worksheet provided.

What can you say about the relationship between length and period? 5min

Students suggest possible relations between period and length (no formula required).

Summarises and concludes experiment. Suggests further reading and experiments. Students disassemble pendulums hand in worksheets.

Students are suggested to explore the related web sites: Galileos Pendulum Experiments: The Simple Pendulum Simulation:

Team worksheets are handed in for marking at the end of the practicum.