Coupled Resonant Pendulums

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In this activity, learners discover that two pendulums suspended from a common support will swing back and forth in intriguing patterns, if the support allows the motion of one pendulum to influence the motion of the other. Learners are encouraged to experiment with different wire lengths and string tensions to produce stronger or weaker interdependent coupled pendulums.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 plastic 35 mm film cans
  • Clay, coins, or washers for mass
  • 2 pieces of metal coat hanger wire, each about 8 inches (20 cm) long
  • A piece of string about 3 feet (90 cm) long
  • 2 ring stands or other vertical supports for the string


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • California Department of Education
  • NEC Foundation of America