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published by the Science NetLinks and the American Association for the Advancement of Science
This interactive lesson for Grades 9-12 demonstrates how the motion of the Foucault pendulum proves that the earth is rotating. It blends an animated tutorial with informative text to expand student understanding of motion and gravitational force. It was also designed to address the common misconceptions that the earth's gravity does not extend beyond its atmosphere or that it is caused by the atmosphere. The package includes student activity sheet with answer key for teachers.
See Related Materials for a short video from Teachers' Domain that further explores Leon Foucault's famous pendulum experiment and an online tutorial from PhysClips that provides more advanced information about the physics involved.
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Editor's Note: Most of the time, the relative motion of the earth does not affect our perception of motion. Since everything is moving, there is no fixed reference point against which the motion of things can be described. This lesson will help students understand that everything in the universe exerts gravitational forces on everything else, although the effects are readily noticeable only when at least one very large mass is involved.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4B. The Earth
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Science NetLinks: Foucault's Pendulum:
Same topic as Teachers' Domain: Thank Goodness for Gravity
A four-minute video that explains how the motion of a pendulum demonstrates that the Earth is rotating on its axis.relation by Caroline Hall
Same topic as The Foucault Pendulum
A digital tutorial that provides more extensive information about the physics involved in the motion of Foucault's Pendulum.relation by Caroline Hall
References Science NetLinks: Exploring Pendulums
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