Middle School Physical Science Teacher Guide


Features 23 core lab activities that cover the fundamental concepts of Force & Motion, Energy Transfer, Electricity & Circuits, Fluids and more.

Simple Harmonic Motion

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to measure the period of a simple pendulum.


This activity introduces students to the simple harmonic motion of a simple pendulum. Students will:

  • Use a motion sensor to measure the period of a simple pendulum
  • Describe the energy conversions taking place during the pendulum's swing
  • Gain skills using scientific measurement tools
  • Conduct a scientific investigation including making and analyzing graphs, making
    predictions, and analyzing results


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Setting up the equipment and work area to measure the motion of a swinging pendulum
  • Making a simple pendulum from a soda bottle containing a volume of water as its mass
  • Measuring the period of the pendulum as it swings through a small angle and a larger angle, first at one mass and then at twice the mass
  • Using math skills to interpret the graphs of position versus time

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Motion Sensor


The PASPORT Motion Sensor accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. Can be used to track the motion of carts, balls, people and more.

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Middle School Physical Science Bundle


Equipment bundle for teaching 23 Middle School Physical Science Teacher Guide labs.

Option 2:

Middle School Science Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 49 lab activities in the Middle School Science through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.