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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.

Science NetLinks is a part of Thinkfinity, a partnership that provides free Internet-based content across academic disciplines. Science resources are aligned to AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Relative Motion
= Rotating Reference Frames
General Physics
- Curriculum
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Student Guide
- Assessment Material
= Test
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- text/html
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Free access
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Keywords:
Assessment, Foucault Pendulum , force, force and motion, frame of reference, motion, pendulum motion, reference frame, universal gravitation
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created October 29, 2006 by Cathy Ezrailson
Record Updated:
October 25, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 20, 2001
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4B. The Earth
• 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.
4F. Motion
• 9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.
• 9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
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@misc{ Title = {Science NetLinks: Foucault's Pendulum}, Publisher = {Science NetLinks}, Volume = {2020}, Number = {7 August 2020}, Month = {October 20, 2001}, Year = {2001} }
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%D October 20, 2001
%C Washington
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%0 Electronic Source
%D October 20, 2001
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%N 7 August 2020
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Same topic as PBS Learning Media: 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

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