Lesson 11: Apply the Models to the Foucault Pendulum

Maureen Dooley, B.S.Ed.

Copyright 2004. Permission is granted for classroom use and for non-commercial educational purposes.

Subject __________________________

Anticipatory Set (focus) - The students will be asked to get out their notes and arguments from the previous lesson.

Purpose (objective) -The students will be able to evaluate the fixed earth (moving sun) model and the spinning earth model as an explanation as to why the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves and why the sun's shadow moves. The students will be able to predict what would happen to the pendulum in the southern hemisphere.

Input - The teacher will review what occurred in the previous lesson and will explain what the students will be doing in this lesson. The students will be told that today they need to explain why the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves. They will need to be divided into three groups; they may choose which group they would like to join.
First group- believes that the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves based on the moving sun model.
Second group- believes that the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves based on the spinning earth model.
Third group- isn't yet sure.
(These groups do not need to be of equal size.)
(Notes are provided for the teacher if further explanation is needed for these two models)

Guided Practice - After the students have divided into the three groups have the first two groups begin to write down the evidence that they have to explain the movement of the plane of oscillation. The teacher needs to work with the third group and explain to them that at the end of today's class they will act as the "jury". (Don't tell them that the third group is the jury until they have already divided into three groups or most students will want to join this third group). The teacher will also tell the third groups that they will have to do two things today:
First they will be deciding which argument best explains the movement of the plane of oscillation.
Second the argument they choose as the valid explanation for the plane of oscillations movement will not only explain the "movement", but it will also explain why the shadow moves on the sundial; so after hearing both arguments and choosing one, they need to explain this information to the two groups of lawyers.
The teacher may need to work with the third groups more or less depending on how they are progressing. (Notes are provided for the teacher on the two models)

Independent Practice - The three groups will begin their cooperative groups. The first two groups will go through their notes and come up with compelling arguments/fact/opinions as to why they believe their argument is correct as to why the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves. The third group will go through their notes and with the help of the teacher will get some guidance as to how to judge the validity of the two arguments.

Closure - (Tell or show me what you have learned) - The teacher will have the first two groups present there "arguments" as to why they believe the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves; moving sun model or spinning earth model.
The third group "the jury" will listen to the two sides and with the help of the teacher they will conclude which is the valid argument.
Third group "the jury" , with the help of the teacher if necessary, will then explain to the two groups the explanation that they have chosen as the valid explanation as to why the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves.
The third group will also explain that the chosen model works to describe both the motion of the plane of oscillation of the pendulum moves and also the motion of the shadow on the sundial.