Education Technology

Up and Down: Damped Harmonic Motion

Activity Overview

In this activity, students' will use a motion detector to record the motion data for a plate bouncing at the end of a light spring, and analyze the data to determine frequency, period and amplitude. They will then find an appropriate model for the resulting data set.

Before the Activity

  • Connect the motion detector to the DIG/SONIC port of the CBL 2™ or the DIG/SONIC 1 port of the Vernier LabPro®
  • Connect the CBL 2 or LabPro to the calculator using the Unit-to-Unit cable
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 265 - 275 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages 265 - 275 to your class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Zero the motion detector and suspend the spring and its plate over it
  • Allow the spring to oscillate up and down and begin data collection
  • Observe the graph of distance versus time graph
  • Compare the data to the model equation
  • After the Activity

    Students' will analyze their data and fill in the Data Collection and Analysis Sheet. They will also answer questions listed in it.

    Review student results

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary