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ERIC Number: EJ930530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jul
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
Coupled Pendulums: A Physical System for Laboratory Investigations at Upper Secondary School
Picciarelli, Vittorio; Stella, Rosa
Physics Education, v45 n4 402-408 Jul 2010
The topic of coupled oscillations is rich in physical content which is both interesting and complex. The study of the time evolution of coupled oscillator systems involves a mathematical formalization beyond the level of the upper secondary school student's competence. Here, we present an original approach, suitable even for secondary students, to investigate a coupled pendulum system through a series of carefully designed hands-on and minds-on modelling activities. We give a detailed description of these activities and of the strategy developed to promote both the understanding of this complex system and a sound epistemological framework. Students are actively engaged (1) in system exploration; (2) in simple model building and its implementation with an Excel spreadsheet; and (3) in comparing the measurements of the system behaviour with predictions from the model. (Contains 5 figures and 2 footnotes.)
Institute of Physics Publishing. The Public Ledger Building Suite 929, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-627-0880; Fax: 215-627-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A