Pendulum Swing

Good evening scientists! We decide to test out different pendulums to see which one was the fastest. Try it out today with your little scientist. 🙂

MaterialsPendulum Swing (3)

String

Washers

Scissors

Painters Tape (I recommend this kind of tape so your furniture doesn’t get damaged)

Investigation

  1. Tie a washer onto the end of a piece of string (you could also wait to cut the string length until you hang it). Tape the short string with washer to the side of a table or another surface that has a large gap underneath, make sure to hang the string so that it can still fit under the table. (Cut to length if you haven’t done that yet).Pendulum Swing (5)
  2. Tie a washer onto the end of a piece of string (you could also wait to cut the string length until you hang it). Tape the long string with washer to the side of a table or another surface that has a large gap underneath, make sure to hang the string so that it doesn’t touch the ground. (Cut to length if you haven’t done that yet).Pendulum Swing (13)
  3. Pull both pendulums back to the same height and let go. Watch to see what happens. Pendulum Swing (18)
  4. Make a prediction about what will happen if you change the weight of the pendulum, and count out five washers and repeat step one with five washers instead of just one, taping the new short string with five washers next to the other short string washer, making sure that they are hanging at the same height (or very close).
  5. Count out five washers and repeat step two with five washers instead of just one, taping the new long string with five washers next to the other long string washer, making sure that they are hanging at the same height (or very close).
  6. Test the two short pendulums and obverse what happens. Test the long pendulums and observe what happens. Compare the four pendulums.

Talking Points

A Pendulum is a weight hung from a fix point (single spot) that can move in a swinging motion without getting interrupted. We see pendulums in large clocks to help them keep time. In science we use pendulums to help explain several types of energy. Before we let go of the pendulum and we were holding the pendulum getting ready to release it was an example of potential energy or stored energy. When we let the pendulum weight go it started to swing back and forth this is an example of kinetic energy or the energy of motion. The entire process from swing to swing was an example of mechanical energy or the combined energy of potential (furthest point of the swing outward in both directions) and kinetic energies (middle of each swing).

The pendulum can help to study speed or the rate of movement (how fast) of an object in this case the pendulum. Speed can be calculated by measuring the distance traveled and dividing it by the time it took to get there.

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