Making a One-Second Timer

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
This lab activity has learners create a pendulum with a one-second period. Learners explore different physical properties as variables, such as length of the string and mass of the bob, to determine how they affect the period of the pendulum. This resource includes questions for learners to answer to help assess their understanding of the pendulums.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • String (white, about 100 cm)
  • Thumb Tacks (Push Pins)
  • Felt tip marker (black)
  • Tube to slide string through (e.g., small diameter PVC pipe, half a strong soda straw)
  • Tape to hold tube or soda straw
  • Different mass objects for pendulum bobs (e. g., washers)
  • Paper Clip (large)
  • Clock that will read seconds (A stopwatch is nice but not essential.)


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Equations and Inequalities
      • Variables and Expressions
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Wave Properties
      • Wave Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Nelson, Jane ; Nelson, Jim


  • All rights reserved, Jim and Jane Nelson, 2004