Swinging Yo-Yo

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Learners build a pendulum from a yo-yo, and then design their own experiment to determine what affects the pendulum's period of swing. They can alter the mass of the yo-yo by adding play dough, the length of the yo-yo string, or some other variable of their own choosing. Learners collect data and graph their results. This activity starts on p.17 of the manual. This manual contains 4 activities related to the Spectra's Force comic book published by the American Physical Society.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Literature
  • Toys


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


  • Thompson, Rebecca ; Johnson, Kerry G. ; Ellis, David ; Bennett-Karasik, Nancy


  • All rights reserved, American Physical Society, 2011