Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Lights Out! - Periodic Phenomena

Figure from experiment 21 from Real-World Math with Vernier


A rocking chair moving back and forth, a ringing telephone, and water dripping from a leaky faucet are all examples of periodic phenomena. That means that the phenomenon repeats itself every so often. The period is the time required to complete one cycle of the phenomenon. The number of times the cycle occurs per unit time is known as the frequency.

In the following activities, you will use a Light Sensor to collect data for two different types of periodic phenomena. You will then analyze this data with the calculator to find the period and the frequency of the observed behavior.


  • Record light intensity versus time data for both fast and slow variations of intensity.
  • Describe the intensity variations using the concepts of period and frequency.

Sensors and Equipment

This activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Real-World Math with Vernier »

Activity 21 from Real-World Math with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Real-World Math with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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