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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)
View the source code document attached to this resource
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
= Conservation of Energy
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
- Middle School
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Educator
Learner
Professional/Practitioner
Format:
application/java
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Wolfgang Christian
PACSs:
01.50.hv
07.05.Tp
Keywords:
energy conservation, harmonic motion, kinetic energy, middle school module, potential energy, swing
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 17, 2009 by Anne Cox
Record Updated:
March 29, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
June 17, 2009
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M1. Whenever energy appears in one place, it must have disappeared from another. Whenever energy is lost from somewhere, it must have gone somewhere else. Sometimes when energy appears to be lost, it actually has been transferred to a system that is so large that the effect of the transferred energy is imperceptible.
  • 6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
  • 9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 3-5: 11B/E3. A model of something is similar to, but not exactly like, the thing being modeled. Some models are physically similar to what they are representing, but others are not.
  • 3-5: 11B/E4. Models are very useful for communicating ideas about objects, events, and processes. When using a model to communicate about something, it is important to keep in mind how it is different from the thing being modeled.
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
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)
  • Forces that act at a distance (electric, magnetic, and gravitational) can be explained by fields that extend through space and can be mapped by their effect on a test object (a charged object, or a ball, respectively). (6-8)
Definitions of Energy (PS3.A)
  • Motion energy is properly called kinetic energy; it is proportional to the mass of the moving object and grows with the square of its speed. (6-8)
  • A system of objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions. (6-8)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
  • When the motion energy of an object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Systems and System Models (K-12)
  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy and matter flows within systems. (6-8)
Energy and Matter (2-12)
  • The transfer of energy can be tracked as energy flows through a designed or natural system. (6-8)
  • Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion). (6-8)
  • Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter. (6-8)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
  • Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation. (6-8)

Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)

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)
  • 7.RP.2.b Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.

Functions (8)

Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
  • 8.F.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

NSES Content Standards

Con.U: Unifying Concepts & Processes
  • K-12: Evidence, Models, Explanation
Con.B: Physical Science
  • 5-8: Transfer of Energy
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.

The Physics Classroom: Energy Transformation for a Pendulum (html)

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:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
W. Christian, M. Belloni, and A. Cox, Computer Program PENDULUM ENERGY MODEL, Version 1.0 (2009), WWW Document, (http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220).
AJP/PRST-PER
W. Christian, M. Belloni, and A. Cox, Computer Program PENDULUM ENERGY MODEL, Version 1.0 (2009), <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220>.
APA Format
Christian, W., Belloni, M., & Cox, A. (2009). Pendulum Energy Model (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved April 16, 2014, from http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220
Chicago Format
Christian, W, M. Belloni, and A. Cox. "Pendulum Energy Model." Version 1.0. http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220 (accessed 16 April 2014).
MLA Format
Christian, Wolfgang, Mario Belloni, and Anne Cox. Pendulum Energy Model. Vers. 1.0. Computer software. 2009. Java (JRE) 1.5. 16 Apr. 2014 <http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni and Anne Cox", Title = {Pendulum Energy Model}, Month = {June}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Wolfgang Christian
%A Mario Belloni
%A Anne Cox
%T Pendulum Energy Model
%D June 17, 2009
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220
%O 1.0
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Christian, Wolfgang
%A Belloni, Mario
%A Cox, Anne
%D June 17, 2009
%T Pendulum Energy Model
%7 1.0
%8 June 17, 2009
%U http://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9147&DocID=1220


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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: 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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