Introduction

Remember the last time you played on a swing set? Scientists call this type of back and forth motion simple harmonic motion. Besides describing back and forth, or horizontal, movement, simple harmonic motion can also be a movement that is up and down, or vertical, like a bungee jumper bouncing after the jump. The time it takes for one complete cycle of these up-and-down movements is called a period. In this activity, we will study the up-and-down motion of a ball at the end of a Slinky® using a Go!Motion.

Objectives

In this activity, you will

  • Graph vertical simple harmonic motion.
  • Find how long it takes to make one complete cycle, or period.
  • Find out how the period is affected by pulling the spring further down.