The Science of Swinging

Contributor
Teach Engineering Ashleigh Bailey; Megan Podlogar; Malinda S. Zarske; Denise W. Carlson
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Using a worksheet attached to this lesson, students will investigate how the length of a pendulum string affects its motion. The related curated resource, Swinging in Style, provides opportunitites for further investigations.    

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 3
  • Grade 2
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

3-PS2-2 Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.

Clarification Statement: Examples of motion with a predictable pattern could include a child swinging in a swing, a ball rolling back and forth in a bowl, and two children on a see-saw.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include technical terms such as period and frequency.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Using the Graphing Worksheet provided at the end of the lesson, students investigate how the length of a string affects the number of times the pendulum will swing in 15 seconds. It is recommended that the equation in worksheet question #3 be deleted as it is too difficult for third grade students. To make the crosscutting concept of patterns explicit, it is recommended that the worksheet be amended to have students conduct the first 3 trials at 10, 20, and 30 cm of string, then make a prediction about future motion when the pendulum string is 40 and 50 cm. in length. The first three trials should provide sufficient observational and quantitative evidence of a pattern that can be used to predict future motion.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
In this investigation, students will make observations as they count the number times a pendulum swings in a specified time period. The data will serve as the basis for evidence to explain how the length of the pendulum affects its swing. Since it is not explicitly included in the worksheet, the teacher will need to ask students to construct an explanation based on their data.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will observe that there is a pattern in the motion of the pendulum that is supported by the data collected, and use that data to make future predictions. As the length of the pendulum increases the size of the swing, the result is a decrease in the number of swings per period.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will observe that there is a pattern in the motion of the pendulum that is supported by the data collected. If the lesson is structured as recommended for the Performance Expectation, then students can use the data to make future predictions. Teacher facilitation as students discuss their data is key to making the patterns explicit.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
While patterns is the predominant crosscutting concept here, relationship between the length of the string (cause) and the resulting motion of the pendulum (effect) can be identified and used to explain change as the students conduct their investigations.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Using the worksheet attached to this lesson, students make observations of pendulums to produce data related to the disciplinary core idea. However, the majority of the lesson is lectured-based and does not feature students making sense of phenomena or designing solutions to problems. As a result, the teacher should start with the Pre-Assessment demonstration, ask students to generate questions, then have students do the worksheet investigation. Students can use this data (and perhaps data gathered in other investigations on the playground with swings, etc.) to construct an explanation and use what they've learned to predict pendulum motion. Patterns in the relationship between the length of the string (cause) to the resulting motion need to be made explicit as students discuss their data. The teacher can weave in information from the lecture-based part of the lesson as needed and to highlight real world connections.

  • Instructional Supports: This lesson makes connections to science as experienced in the real world. The Preassessment section includes class discussion, but additional opportunities for students to discuss the data they collect as well as their explanations will need to be added. If choosing to use amusement park swing rides as introductory phenomenon as suggested in the resource, the following video is recommended over the digital images provided: Jolly Rocker Swing Boat Ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAnoYvNX4hs Finally, strategies for differentiation of instruction are not provided. Students who are struggling in mathematics may need support with the graphing of their data, as well as the measurement of the pendulum string. Students who exceed expectations might be encouraged to investigate other variables that might affect pendulum motion. Where possible, the student’s wonderings should drive these investigations. Extensions are provided.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This resource includes a preassessment, a post-introduction assessment, and a lesson summary assessment. However no scoring rubric is provided.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This resource does not include a technologically interactive component.