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Swing That Pendulum

Source Institutions

    Twin Cities Public Television

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Swing That Pendulum

In this full inquiry activity (located on page 3 of the PDF under GPS: Kinetic Sculpture Challenge Activity), groups of learners will make predictions about which feature of a pendulum (mass, length, or both) has any effect on its rate of swinging. Then, learners conduct repeated testing of a simple string and weight pendulum, varying its length and mass, and finally analyzing the recorded results. Relates to linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Kinetic Sculpture Challenge.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a spool of string
  • 9 washers, 1 inch diameter
  • a metric ruler
  • masking tape
  • a stopwatch
  • scissors


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
      • Probability
    • Measurement
      • Rate
    • Number and Operations
    • Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Work and Machines
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Newton's Laws
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • DragonflyTV


  • All Rights Reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., ©2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 610429


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