April 11, 2016

Pendulum Painting

My pre-Kindergartners made some crazy intricate line paintings using a pendulum! Took a little trial and error on my part - but we ended up with a pretty alright set up, using a fully extended tripod on top of a table, a length of string and a water bottle/glue bottle contraption* as the bob for our pendulum. See?

For this project, we really took some time to focus on the order of the steps involved. Students choose a color of (way watered down) paint, it was poured into the bottle and they kids practiced sending the bob in straight lines or in oval or circle shapes. Students watched as the paint bob lost velocity and made smaller and smaller turns around the canvas, and we all got very painty, every day.

We painted on paper, on fabric, on cardboard and on canvases. Our makeshift pendulum made lots of beautiful collaborative artwork, and snuck in a lot of scientific thinking and vocabulary!

Here's some of the scientific concepts we explored. While these definitions are a little heavy for little kids, I found it was a good refresher for *this* teacher. (It's good to be able to talk about your projects at both a Kindergarten AND adult level, right??)

Pendulum: an overhead support, from which a string hangs, and an object at the bottom end of the string. The object swings back and forth under the combined influence of gravity and the string.
Oscillate: back and forth motion of the pendulum bob.
Amplitude: maximum distance bob travels from equilibrium point
Gravity: force that pulls the bob down
Velocity: speed of the pendulum and speed of the change of direction

*while making dinner a few days after completing this project, I realized that empty Sriracha bottles would be perfect and ideal for this project!

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