List of Learning Objects

Learning Object 

Name:  Oscillating Bar   Subject Area: Physics, Math
Version: 1.0  Date Posted: 5/5/02 Revised: 5/17/02

General Questions
Build It

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In the simulation below the blue disk represents a device that supports a horizontal red bar. Click and drag the slider button to set the initial angle for the red bar. Click the Start button.

General Questions:

1.  What type of energy does the bar have after you click the Start button?

2.  What does your answer to question 1 imply about what occurs as the red bar is moved from its horizontal position to its initial starting angle?

3.  What does your answer to question 2 imply about a general characteristic of the blue disk device ?

4. Once the bar stops oscillating it no longer has the energy it did when it was rotating.  Where did this energy go?

5.  What does your answer to question 4 imply about another general characteristic of the blue disk device?

Build It:

1. Design and build a device that uses components from your local hardware store and meets the  general requirements of the blue disk device.




1.  Carefully observe the motion of the bar.  Describe what you see.

2.  Take quantitative measurements of the bar's motion.  (You will need at least a watch with a second hand to do this.)

3.  Based on your data find the mathematical function that describes how the angle of the bar varies with time. Determine the value of all the constants in this function.


1.  Try the following search words at www.google.com. (Be sure to include the quotation marks.)

                                                                      Pages sited by Google

 "simple harmonic motion"                            15,500

"damped oscillations"                                     3,090

"curve fitting"                                               60,500

"numerical data analysis"                                   580

"experimental data analysis"                            1,330

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