The Pendulum

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The Pendulum
Scientific Inquiry Performance Task –
Author: Scott Coles/Madras High School Science Department
CIM Benchmark/Physical Science

Brief overview of task: Utilizing a pendulum (supports, strings & bobs), students will design and execute an investigation to answer the following question… What factor(s) determine(s) the period of a pendulum?

Targeted benchmark(s): 1.) Design a scientific investigation that provides data to address a question or hypothesis specific to a domain of science. 2.) Collect and organize data by using methods and procedures that support analysis. 3.) Analyze data and evaluate sources of error and/or bias. Propose explanations that are supported by data and knowledge of science concepts and principles.

Recommended prerequisite student knowledge and skills: Students should be comfortable with the pendulum, so they can construct and modify the apparatus. Students should be able to measure the mass of the bobs, lengths of string, angles of string/height of bob. Students should be capable of timing the period (forward and back) of the bob with a stopwatch.

Materials that students may need:

Masses support/ ring stand, stop watch, string or fishing line,
balance (if masses are unknown), protractor,
ruler, ask for anything else.

Reference Resources: Classroom textbooks and encyclopedias as well as the library may be used.

Classroom Time: Two 45-minute periods.

Detailed description for Teachers: The question or problem is stated for the students. This is an open ended performance task that can be approached from a variety of ways. Several trials should be recorded. Students will necessarily need to find the masses of their bobs if they are unknown. They will also need to measure the length of the string. Finally they will need to measure either the angle of the string from the normal (perpendicular) or the height above the table to which the bob is pulled. A table and/or graph work well to display data and serve as a tool to help analyze the results. Conclusions should be based upon observations.

Laboratory Outline: (Use additional paper if necessary.)
1.) State the problem or question. (5 points)
2.) Hypothesis: What do you predict the answer will be? (5 points)
3.) Equipment list: What will you use to help you test your hypothesis? (5 points)
4.) Procedure: Explain, step by step, what you will do during your experiment. (10 points)
5.) Record and organize data: Display data in a meaningful and accurate way. This could be done as a table, chart, graph, etc.. (10 points)
6.) Analyze data: Does the data support your prediction? Do you need more
information? (5 points)
7.) Conclusion: State your conclusion, based upon the data you collected. Your data should support your conclusion or lead to another question. Have any questions or problems come up? (10 points)

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