Introduction and Pendulums

Today your child began an exciting science program in their classroom offered by Science from Scientists. SfS is a Boston-based, non-profit organization that strives to improve science and technology attitudes and aptitudes. We send real scientists into the classroom during school every other week to teach exciting, fun, and curriculum-relevant science lessons. We will be visiting your child’s classroom every other week throughout the school year. We will bring engaging, informative, and stimulating hands-on lessons with us to supplement the school’s science curriculum.

Mr. Stanmyer and Mr. Hart will be your scientific instructors for the rest of the academic semester. Mr. Stanmyer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Clark University and studied how DNA repair proteins interact with DNA. Mr. Hart received his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and studied multiple brain diseases including Alzheimer’s Disease. They are all very excited to get students actively engaged in scientific discovery!

Today’s lesson focused on pendulums.   The motion of pendulums was one of the many phenomena investigated by the famed scientist Galileo over 400 years ago and what he learned about them had a huge impact on the history of technology. The periodic motion of pendulums allowed for the invention of clocks and the standardization of time, and they still have many uses in modern society.

Students saw that a pendulum consists of a pivot point with a rope or wire attached to it and a mass on the end. The time it takes the pendulum to make one full oscillation back and forth is called the period. Here, gravity is the only force working on the pendulum. If we took the same pendulum and put it on the Moon, the pendulum would have a slower period due to less gravitational force. Some examples of items that use pendulums are metronomes and grandfather clocks.

For the activity, students constructed their own pendulums and then changed the variables of it to see if mass, length, or angle affected the period of a pendulum. They were surprised to learn that only length caused the period to change:  a longer length correlated to a longer period. Students also learned that gravity works on different masses in the same way, so mass is not a factor in the period of the pendulum.

Students really enjoyed this activity!

Additional Information:

To experiment with virtual pendulums at home, check out:

This video shows some of the cool patterns that a group of pendulum waves can make!

La clase del día de hoy trató sobre los péndulos. El movimiento pendular fue uno de los muchos fenómenos estudiados por el famoso cientifico Galileo hace más de 400 años atrás; lo que él describió sobre los péndulos marcó un hito en la historia de la tecnología. El movimiento periódico de los péndulos permitió la invención de los relojes y la estandarización del tiempo, y aún tienen muchos usos en la sociedad moderna.

Los estudiantes observaron que un péndulo está configurado por una masa suspendida de un punto o de un eje horizontal fijos mediante una cuerda o cable. El tiempo que tarda el péndulo en oscilar completamente de ida y vuelta se llama “período”. La gravedad es el  único tipo de fuerza que trabaja sobre el péndulo. Si tomáramos el mismo péndulo y lo pusiéramos en la Luna, éste tendría un período más lento debido a que en la Luna hay menos fuerza gravitacional. Algunos ejemplos de artículos que usan péndulos son los metrónomos y los relojes de los abuelos.

En la actividad los estudiantes construyeron sus propios péndulos y luego cambiaron las variables para observar si la masa, el largo o el ángulo afectaba el período de sus péndulos. Se sorprendieron al descubrir que sólo el largo afecta el periodo; entre más largo, más largo el período. Los estudiantes también aprendieron que la gravedad funciona de manera similar en diferentes masas, por lo que la masa no es un factor para el periodo de un péndulo.

¡Los estudiantes realmente disfrutaron de esta actividad!

Please check the Classroom Post on our website regularly to read about the science activities that your child is participating in and to view photos from your child’s classroom.

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How to view your child’s Classroom Post:
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