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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
content provider: the Kentucky Educational Television
This 6-minute video stars a young boy who is concerned about spinning through space until he is introduced to a Foucault pendulum. He learns all about how French scientist Leon Foucault experimented with the pendulum in the 19th century to demonstrate Earth's rotation and its steady, measurable motion. The pendulum in the video isn't deviating from its fixed endpoint.....the rotating Earth just makes it look that way. The video is appropriate for elementary school.

This video features the Foucault's Pendulum located at the Lexington, KY, public library.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Astronomy
- Fundamentals
= Gravity
Classical Mechanics
- Gravity
= Universal Gravitation
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= Central Forces
- Rotational Dynamics
= Conservation of Angular Momentum
General Physics
- History
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
= Simple Harmonic Motion
- Elementary School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
General Public
Formats:
application/flash
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2009 Kentucky Educational Television, 2009
Keywords:
Earth's rotation, Foucault, elementary school , gravitation, pendulum video, periodic motion
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 19, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
January 28, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 30, 2010

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4B. The Earth
  • 3-5: 4B/E1. Things on or near the earth are pulled toward it by the earth's gravity.
  • 3-5: 4B/E2bc. The rotation of the earth on its axis every 24 hours produces the night-and-day cycle. To people on earth, this turning of the planet makes it seem as though the sun, moon, planets, and stars are orbiting the earth once a day.
  • 6-8: 4B/M3. Everything on or anywhere near the earth is pulled toward the earth's center by gravitational force.
4G. Forces of Nature
  • 3-5: 4G/E1. The earth's gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it.

11. Common Themes

11C. Constancy and Change
  • 3-5: 11C/E4. Some things in nature have a repeating pattern, such as the day-night cycle, the phases of the moon, and seasons.

12. Habits of Mind

12E. Critical-Response Skills
  • 3-5: 12E/E3. Seek reasons for believing something rather than just claiming "Everybody knows that…" or "I just know" and discount such claims when made by others.

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (5-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (5)
  • Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down. (5-PS2-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • Each force acts on one particular object and has both strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they add to give zero net force on the object. Forces that do not sum to zero can cause changes in the object's speed or direction of motion. (Boundary: Qualitative and conceptual, but not quantitative addition of forces are used at this level.) (3)
  • The patterns of an object's motion in various situations can be observed and measured; when that past motion exhibits a regular pattern, future motion can be predicted from it. (Boundary: Technical terms, such as magnitude, velocity, momentum, and vector quantity, are not introduced at this level, but the concept that some quantities need both size and direction to be described is developed.) (3)
Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
  • The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth's surface pulls that object toward the planet's center. (5)
Earth and the Solar System (ESS1.B)
  • The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. (5)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation. (4)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
  • Science assumes consistent patterns in natural systems. (3-5)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems. (3-5)
    • Use evidence (e.g., observations, patterns) to construct an explanation. (3)
    • Identify the evidence that supports particular points in an explanation. (4)
Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods (K-12)
  • Science investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques. (3)
Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence (K-12)
  • Science findings are based on recognizing patterns. (3-4)
Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena (2-12)
  • Science explanations describe the mechanisms for natural events. (5)

This resource is part of 5 Physics Front Topical Units.


Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Planetary Motion

How did scientists first directly demonstrate that the Earth rotates? This short video, seen through the eyes of a child, explores the work of French scientist Leon Foucault -- a pendulum seems to rotate as it swings, but there is no external force that would cause the rotation (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern). Through experiments, Foucault showed that it's not the pendulum doing the rotating. It's the steady, predictable movement of the Earth's rotation on its axis.

Links to Units:

Topic: Dynamics: Forces and Motion
Unit Title: The Universal Law of Gravitation

How did scientists first directly demonstrate that the Earth rotates? This short video, seen through the eyes of a child, explores the work of French scientist Leon Foucault -- a pendulum seems to rotate as it swings, but there is no external force that would cause the rotation (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern). Through experiments, Foucault showed that it's not the pendulum doing the rotating. It's the steady, predictable movement of the Earth's rotation.

Links to Units:

Topic: Periodic and Simple Harmonic Motion
Unit Title: Conservation of Energy and Forces on a Spring

This 4-minute video stars a boy who is concerned about spinning off into space, until he is introduced to a Foucault pendulum. The video does an excellent job of explaining how the motion of a pendulum demonstrates that the Earth is rotating on its axis. The pendulum is located at the Lexington, KY, public library, and is itself a thing of beauty.

Links to Units:

Topic: Astronomy
Unit Title: Astronomy: An Historical Perspective

How did scientists first directly demonstrate that the Earth rotates? This short video, seen through the eyes of a child, explores the work of French scientist Leon Foucault -- a pendulum seems to rotate as it swings, but there is no external force that would cause the rotation (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern). Through experiments, Foucault showed that it's not the pendulum doing the rotating. It's the steady, predictable movement of the Earth's rotation on its axis.

Links to Units:

Topic: Astronomy
Unit Title: Astronomy Resources for the K-8 Classroom

How did scientists first directly demonstrate that the Earth rotates? This short video, seen through the eyes of a child, explores the work of French scientist Leon Foucault -- a pendulum seems to rotate as it swings, but there is no external force that would cause the rotation (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern). Through experiments, Foucault showed that it's not the pendulum doing the rotating. It's the steady, predictable movement of the Earth's rotation on its axis.

Links to Units:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2009), WWW Document, (http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/).
AJP/PRST-PER
PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2009), <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity. (2010, September 30). Retrieved July 28, 2014, from WGBH Educational Foundation: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/
Chicago Format
Kentucky Educational Television. PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, September 30, 2010. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/ (accessed 28 July 2014).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2009. 30 Sep. 2010. Kentucky Educational Television. 28 July 2014 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {28 July 2014}, Month = {September 30, 2010}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity
%D September 30, 2010
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%C Boston
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D September 30, 2010
%T PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity
%I WGBH Educational Foundation
%V 2014
%N 28 July 2014
%8 September 30, 2010
%9 application/flash
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ket09.sci.ess.gravity/thank-goodness-for-gravity/


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PBS Learning Media: Thank Goodness for Gravity:

Same topic as Science NetLinks: Foucault's Pendulum

A multimedia high school lesson to help students understand how the Foucault Pendulum proves that the Earth is rotating.

relation by Caroline Hall

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