Education Technology

Up and Down: Vertical Oscillations

Activity Overview

Students explore vertical oscillations produced by a mass attached to an elastic spring and collect data on the force of the spring as a function of time.

Key Steps

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    Students learn how to determine the period of a mass oscillating on a spring. They then explore the relationship between mass and oscillation period.


    First, students collect data on the force exerted by an oscillating spring. They determine the period of the oscillations by examining a graph of force vs. time.

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    Students repeat the data collection several more times using different masses attached to the spring. They record the oscillation period associated with each mass.

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    Finally, students use the relationship they identified to solve several problems relating to mass and oscillation period.