Physics on a swing

Let’s get acquainted with pendulum movement, like swings on a swing. What effect does the weight of the object and the length of the string make on how the object turns.
What do you notice?

Phase 1 Material

  • string
  • tape
  • measure
  • scissors
  • Items with different weights (e.g. toys, weights )
  • Paper and pens for any notes

Phase 2 Activity

Use a tape measure and measure out pieces o f string of different lengths (e.g. 1m, 60cm and 30cm).
Cut the strings 10-20 cm longer than measured above. Cut up two pieces of each length.
Tie any object to the other end of the strings.
Grasp the free end of the string with your fingers and set the object in motion. Try to keep your hands on the same place when the object oscillates, like swinging in a swing.
Can take two strings of the same length in each hand and observe which object is heavier.
It is then observed which has a larger pendulum movement, which is faster, and which one slows down faster when no additional impetus is given.
After that, strings of different lengths can be but objects of equal weight to the ends of the wire. Now you notice which pendulum moves bigger, which one is faster, and which one slows down faster, when no further impetus is given.


This can also be tested with a yo-yo or a similar object with a string and weight at one end.
If desired, you can also make a table to compare different string lengths and the pendulum movement of something in a child-friendly way.

Idea taken from STEAM Turku

Logo STEAM Turku.

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