This lab provides students to determine which independent variable; length of string, mass of bob, or height of arc will determine the length of the pendulum's period. This lab is more complicated and I use it after they have analyzed labs with one and two variables. I also teach this lab toward the end of my unit on Physics after they have learned about force & motion, Newton's laws, Galileo's experiments with acceleration due to gravity, and potential and kinetic energy.
The idea of independent variables, dependent variables, and constants are reinforced in this lab. However, the emphasis for this lab is how to analyze data to determine if the independent variable had an effect on the dependent variable (time). Students analyze each of the data sets separately and try to understand why the dependent variable did or did not change by relating to the science concepts learned. I usually model the analysis with one variable, and then have them complete the other two analyses for hw. The analysis then becomes the plan for the result & conclusion section of the lab.
I have provided a summary sheet of the analysis that details the results for each independent variable and the science concepts that can get tied in. A rubric that I use for their Results & Conclusion is also included. Students can complete in a single paragraph with minimal writing or in a 5 paragraph essay depending on the ability of the student and their writing capability. I have differentiated the writing as well as staggered and had one of each of the body paragraph's that describe each independent variables due each night for sections that struggle and given other sections the expectation of a 5 paragraph essay in a couple of nights time.
I really enjoy students seeing how the science concepts relate to the independent variables. Many students chose incorrectly, and are surprised by the results.
Hope you enjoy this lab!
Pendulum Lab, Analysis & Result
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