# The Pendulum. Cary Seidman INTRODUCTION TIME NEEDED

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1 3.31 Junior Science Experiments On File TM The Pendulum Cary Seidman INTRODUCTION A pendulum is a string or stick with a weight or bob on the end. The pendulum follows the law of falling objects[ an invisible force, gravity, pulls the pendulum toward Earth. The period of time it takes a pendulum to complete one full swing is simply called the period. Three variables affect the period: the length of the pendulum, the size of the arc it makes, and the mass of the bob. In this activity, you ll discover what happens if you change one or more of the variables. Do you think the period will change? TIME NEEDED Preparation: 40 min. Completion: 1 hr. WHAT T YOU NEED various weights, with hooks or handles to attach to string string stopwatch ringstand or fixed hook on wall calculator metric ruler pencil a friend or family member Safety Precautions Keep your face away from swinging weights. Also, please click on the checkmark to view the safety guidelines. WHAT T YOU DO 1. Tie a weight to one end of string and attach other end of string

2 3.31 to ringstand or hook so that length of string between ring/hook and weight is 1 meter. 2. Pull back weight let go of weight so it swings freely back and forth, not in a loop. Practice this a few times. 3. Pull back weight and ask friend/family member to say go. Start stopwatch as you let go of weight. 4. Start counting number of complete swings until timer says stop at last swing. Now you have two values: number of complete swings, and number of seconds to make them. 5. Calculate period of pendulum. Divide number of swings by number of seconds. For example, if 12 swings take seconds, the period is rounded off to 2.14 seconds. 6. Record results on Data Table A. Data Table A: Weight Variable WEIGHT USED SWINGS TIME PERIOD AVERAGE

3 3.31 Junior Science Experiments On File TM 7. Repeat steps 3 6 two more times with same weight to find average period. 8. Repeat steps 3 6 with each weight of different mass three times to find average period and record all results on data table A. 9. Repeat steps 3 6 with each weight again but change arc by changing how far back you pull weight before releasing it. Record all results on Data Table B. Data Table B: Arc Size Variable WEIGHT USED SWINGS TIME PERIOD AVERAGE 10. Repeat steps 3 6 with each weight again but change length of string cut to make 75 cm, 50 cm, and 25 cm. Record all results on Data Table C. Data Table C: String Length Variable WEIGHT USED SWINGS TIME PERIOD AVERAGE OBSERVATIONS 1. How did changing the mass of the bob on the end of the string affect the period of the pendulum? 2. How did changing the arc of the swing affect the period?

4 How did changing the length of the string affect the period? OUR FINDINGS Click on the above link to see what we found. Follow-Up Play a pendulum bowling game with friends. Tie one end of a 5-foot string to a tennis ball, and tie the other end to a tree branch. Stick pencils in the holes of empty thread spools to create bowling pins. Place a big piece of cardboard on the ground to make a flat place to set up the pins. Take turns. Pull back the tennis-ball pendulum, aim, and let go. How many pins did you get down with just one swing of the pendulum? Just like bowling, you get two swings to try to knock down all the pins. Words To o Know arc a curved line mass resistance to movement of matter, with gravity it s known as weight pendulum an object hung from a fixed point from which it can swing freely variable part that can be changed or isolated in an experiment

5 Our Findings 3. PHYSICAL SCIENCES 3.31 THE PENDULUM 1. Pendulums follow the law of falling objects. An invisible force, gravity, pulls objects toward Earth at the same speed no matter what their mass. So the different weights affected the period very slightly, if at all. 2. It hardly changed it. 3. The period of the pendulum got faster as the string got shorter, so the shortest string had the fastest period.

7 Be cautious when using pointed or sharp instruments, like scissors, screwdrivers, or knives. Unplug any electric device by pulling out the plug, not pulling on the cord. Use only low voltage batteries, like those used in flashlights or smaller. Be careful when using chairs or step-stools. USING CHEMICALS Have an adult help you with all experiments requiring chemicals. Don t inhale or taste chemicals. Read all labels carefully. Label all chemicals. Wear goggles, apron, and gloves so chemicals don t touch your skin. Wash hands before and after using solutions. Wipe up spills thoroughly. HEATING THINGS Wear goggles, apron, and gloves when boiling water. Use safety tongs and heat-resistant mitten or hot pads. Never leave heated things unattended. Turn off hot plates and oven burners when you re finished. Keep flammable things away from heat and flames. Have a fire extinguisher ready. IN THE FIELD Never go on a field trip alone: follow the Buddy System. Tell a responsible grown-up where you re going. Know the area and be aware of dangers, like poisonous plants and deep water. Dress for the weather conditions. Bring along a first-aid kit. Don t drink water or eat plants in the wild, unless the grown-up you re with says it s OK. FINISHING UP Clean up the equipment and your work space. Return chemicals to the proper containers. Don t throw stuff down the drain unless instructed to. Wash your hands. To protect the environment, get rid of chemicals according to local, state, and federal laws.

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