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Pendulum Time

Lesson Focus 
Lesson focuses on how pendulums have been used to measure time and how mechanical mechanism pendulum clocks operate. Students work in teams to develop a pendulum out of everyday objects that can reliably measure time and operate at two different speeds. They will determine the materials, the optimal length of swing or size of weight to adjust speed, and then develop their designs on paper. Next, they will build and test their mechanism, compare their results with other student teams, and share observations with their class.

Age Levels:

8 - 18
Objectives 
  • Learn about timekeeping and engineering.
  • Learn about engineering design and redesign.
  • Learn how engineering can help solve society's
  • challenges.
  • Learn about teamwork and problem solving.
Anticipated Learner Outcomes 

As a result of this activity, students should develop an understanding of:

  • timekeeping
  • engineering design
  • teamwork
Lesson Activities 

Students explore how the pendulum clock has proved to be a very accurate way of measuring time over the centuries. Students work in teams to build their own pendulum clock out of everyday items. They conduct research, determine and draw a design, gather parts, build the clock, test it, complete a reflection sheet, and share their experiences with the class.

Resources/Materials 
  • Teacher Resource Documents (attached)
  • Student Resource Sheet (attached)
  • Student Worksheet (attached)

Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks

Curriculum alignment sheet is included in PDF.


Alignment to Curriculum Frameworks
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