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published by the Public Broadcasting Service
technical implementer: the Show of Force Productions
This video-based resource examines factors that affect the amplitude and period of a pendulum. It provides a highly visual way to explore pendulum motion as a trapeze artist swings on a bar/rope system. Watch what happens to the pendulum period as her center of mass changes when she sits on the bar or moves to the rope below. The accompanying activity guide introduces the mathematics associated with pendulum motion. This resource includes a teacher's guide with tips on how to incorporate the video into instruction, discussion questions, and accompanying classroom activities.

This resource was developed in conjunction with the PBS series Circus. See Related Materials for a link to the full set of 8 Circus Physics video-based lessons.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= 2D Acceleration
= Center of Mass
- Newton's Second Law
= Interacting Objects
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
= Pendula
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2010 Public Broadcasting System
motion videos, pendulum amplitude, pendulum motion, pendulum period, pendulum video, physics videos, trapeze video, video analysis, video-based learning
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 19, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 4, 2016 by Lyle Barbato

Next Generation Science Standards

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

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
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)
Relationship Between Energy and Forces (PS3.C)
  • When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other that can cause energy to be transferred to or from the object. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

2. The Nature of Mathematics

2B. Mathematics, Science, and Technology
  • 9-12: 2B/H3. Mathematics provides a precise language to describe objects and events and the relationships among them. In addition, mathematics provides tools for solving problems, analyzing data, and making logical arguments.

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
  • A-SSE.1.a Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.
Creating Equations? (9-12)
  • A-CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
  • A-CED.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.
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Record Link
AIP Format
(Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2010), WWW Document, (http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/).
Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion, (Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2010), <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/>.
APA Format
Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion. (2010). Retrieved October 21, 2017, from Public Broadcasting Service: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/
Chicago Format
Show of Force Productions. Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/ (accessed 21 October 2017).
MLA Format
Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. Show of Force Productions. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion}, Publisher = {Public Broadcasting Service}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {21 October 2017}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion
%D 2010
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%C Arlington
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/
%O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2010
%T Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%V 2017
%N 21 October 2017
%9 application/flash
%U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/65508e65-74cc-40eb-aac9-6192b13a899a/

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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Circus Physics: Pendulum Motion:

Is Part Of Circus Physics

A link to the full collection of Circus Physics video resources for high school physics.

relation by Caroline Hall

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