Reflection: Student Ownership Swinging into Pendulums - Section 3: Pendulum Lab


The 2014-2015 school year is the first year AP Physics 1 (and AP Physics 2) is being offered. Previously known as AP Physics B, the AP Physics 1 course places an emphasis on inquiry instruction. At the start of the year, this method of teaching was foreign and uncomfortable for me to use. However, as I move through the eighth unit of the year I am finding that my students and I have both adapted to these open-ended labs. 

I run a pretty tight ship in my classroom, so to give up the control of what students were doing, how they were doing it, and when they were doing it was super difficult. The first time we did an inquiry lab, the students asked many questions, wanted more guidance, and one student even asked if I could "just tell us what to do." 

We've come a long way from that initial experience, and now students are willing to play and explore before they dive right into creating a lab procedure. I've noticed that students ask better questions and seem to take ownership in their labs when they have more freedom. And, as I become more comfortable with the process, I will incorporate many more inquiry opportunities for my students.

  Inquiry Inspires
  Student Ownership: Inquiry Inspires
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Swinging into Pendulums

Unit 10: Simple Harmonic Motion
Lesson 3 of 8

Objective: Students will be able to explore the relationships between pendulum period, mass, string length, and amplitude.

Big Idea: Students continue to swing through simple harmonic motion with a pendulum activity today that relates period, mass, string length, & amplitude.

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Science, amplitude, Motion, period, AP Physics, Simple Harmonic Motion, physics
  50 minutes
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