Ross Miller’s Physics class recently measured periodic motion using swinging weights, bouncing cups, and flying pigs!
“A significant portion of science modeling involves the study of periodic motion, motion that repeats in a predictable pattern after a specific amount of time or space,” says Ross. “This includes rotational motion, vibrations such as sound and earthquakes, propagation of light, all the way to the quantum behavior of particles such as protons and electrons.”
“It is important that students collect their own data, analyze it, and determine patterns and mathematical relationships while working with classmates in the way that real scientists do,” says Ross. “The students develop a deeper understanding of the world around them and how to describe it mathematically.”
“Students also are studying how applied forces and energy transfers cause the periodic motion to start and persist,” says Ross. “For example, the pig can fly because a person gave it momentum by throwing it. The pig flies in a circle because of the string it is attached to causes it to stay on the circle. The pig settles into traveling with a constant velocity when thrown clockwise despite the friction and air resistance because the electrical energy in its batteries is being used for the wings to flap.”
“Science takes imagination, collaboration, and the opportunity for failure and skepticism. Creating spaces and places where these three are encouraged — and where pigs can fly — helps develop future scientists and science-informed citizens.”