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[KIDS] Vocab Word of the Week: Pendulum

Vocab Pendulum | Readorium

Swings are pendulums! Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This week’s vocab word is “Pendulum” [PEN-dyoo-lum]. Pendulums are objects that are hung from one point that allows them to swing back and forth. A common example is a swing, or in a grandfather clock. When the swing goes backwards, it has potential energy. This means it is storing up energy. When the swing starts to move forward, it has kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of movement. Other pendulums work in the same way.

Making a Pendulum

Today we’ll be constructing our own pendulum and see how different weights affect how it swings.

A piece of string about two feet long
A cup or small bucket
Various small objects to put in the cup/bucket that are different weights
A table or desk
A timer (stopwatch, phone, etc.)


  1. If using a cup, poke two holes in the sides in order to slip the string through. If using a bucket, tie the string to the handle.
  2. Tape down the other end of the string to the edge of a table or desk securely. Your cup or bucket should now be hanging off the edge the table.
  3. Try swinging it back and forth and timing it for 5 swings. How long did it take?
  4. You can take any of your objects and place it into the cup or bucket. Begin swinging it again, and time it for 5 swings as well. You can do this with more objects afterwards!
  5. Write down your results and compare each one. What did you find happened to the time the pendulum took to swing 5 times when the weights of each trial changed?

This post was written by Natalie Duerr & Maariyah Mustafa

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