the Public Broadcasting Service
the Show of Force Productions
This video-based resource examines factors that affect the amplitude and period of a pendulum. It provides a highly visual way to explore pendulum motion as a trapeze artist swings on a bar/rope system. Watch what happens to the pendulum period as her center of mass changes when she sits on the bar or moves to the rope below. The accompanying activity guide introduces the mathematics associated with pendulum motion. This resource includes a teacher's guide with tips on how to incorporate the video into instruction, discussion questions, and accompanying classroom activities.
This resource was developed in conjunction with the PBS series Circus. See Related Materials for a link to the full set of 8 Circus Physics video-based lessons.
Metadata instance created
November 19, 2013
by Caroline Hall
November 19, 2013
by Caroline Hall
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
2. The Nature of Mathematics
2B. Mathematics, Science, and Technology
9-12: 2B/H3. Mathematics provides a precise language to describe objects and events and the relationships among them. In addition, mathematics provides tools for solving problems, analyzing data, and making logical arguments.
4. The Physical Setting
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.
Next Generation Science Standards
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth's surface pulls that object toward the planet's center. (5)
Relationship Between Energy and Forces (PS3.C)
When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other that can cause energy to be transferred to or from the object. (6-8)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
High School — Algebra (9-12)
Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
A-SSE.1.a Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.
Creating Equations? (9-12)
A-CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
A-CED.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.
Show of Force Productions. Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. http://www.pbs.org/opb/circus/classroom/circus-physics/pendulum-motion/ (accessed 4 September 2015).
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