Computer Program Detail Page
written by Wolfgang Christian, Mario Belloni, and Anne Cox
content provider: Barbara Christian
This is a standards-based simulation for grade level 6-9, developed to help students visualize how total energy is conserved in a simple pendulum. It depicts a child swinging on a swing suspended from a stationary point. Students can drag the swing to different heights, then activate the motion. As the swing moves in periodic motion, energy bar graphs are simultaneously displayed that show changing levels of kinetic and potential energy. The simulation is accompanied by a lesson plan and printable student activity guide.
This item was created with Easy Java Simulations (EJS), a modeling tool that allows users without formal programming experience to generate computer models and simulations. To run the simulation, simply click the Java Archive file below. To modify or customize the model, See Related Materials for detailed instructions on installing and running the EJS Modeling and Authoring Tool.
Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
Editor's Note: To keep the activity simple enough for middle school, air resistance is ignored in this simulation. Teachers should be prepared for students to ask why the swing isn't slowing down. See Annotations for content support on the topic of energy transformation for a pendulum.
View the supplemental documents attached to this resource (2)
EJS Pendulum Energy Model: Student Version is a simulation for physical science (middle and high) school students. It is distributed as a ready-to-run… more...
download 2714kb .jar
Published: June 17, 2009
View the source code document attached to this resource
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
11. Common Themes
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Systems and System Models (K-12)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Ratios and Proportional Relationships (6-7)
Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (7)
Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
NSES Content Standards
Con.U: Unifying Concepts & Processes
The Physics Classroom: Energy Transformation for a Pendulum (Editor: Caroline Hall)
This animated tutorial is part of The Physics Classroom collection, and provides excellent background information on the motion of a pendulum, with questions that allow users to self-test their understanding.
This resource is part of 2 Physics Front Topical Units.
Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Teaching About Energy
This simulation-based lesson was developed by a middle school science teacher to help students visualize how energy is conserved in a simple pendulum (a child swinging on a swing). Students can drag the swing to different heights, then activate the motion. As the swing moves in periodic motion, energy bar graphs are shown in real-time.....letting students see the changing levels of kinetic and potential energy. Highly recommended by editors. Includes full lesson plan and printable student guide. Easily adaptable for high school.Link to Unit:
Topic: Periodic and Simple Harmonic Motion
Unit Title: Simple Harmonic Motion
This lesson integrates a computer model to help kids visualize how energy is conserved in a simple pendulum (a child swinging on a swing). Students can drag the swing to different heights, then activate the motion. As the swing moves in periodic motion, energy bar graphs are shown in real-time.....letting students see the changing levels of kinetic and potential energy. Highly recommended by editors. Includes full lesson plan and printable student guide. Easily adaptable for high school.Link to Unit:
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Pendulum Energy Model:
Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool
The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Pendulum Energy Model.relation by Wolfgang Christian
Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: Analysis of Situations in Which Mechanical Energy is Conserved
Is a Teaching Guide For The Physics Classroom: The Work-Energy Relationship: Bar Chart Illustrations
Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: Pendulum Motion
Simulates Science NetLinks: Exploring Pendulums
This lesson for middle school learners takes the concepts of pendulum motion to a somewhat higher level. Learners construct a pendulum and design a controlled experiment. They will be confronting the concept of air resistance.relation by Caroline Hall
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