The Mad Scientist


Patterns from Sand

In this experiment, we will be examining the pendulum. We will learn what a pendulum is, learn some words that will help us describe pendulums, and use a pendulum to draw patterns that are made out of sand.


 Pendulum support  sand
 paper cones  paper clips
 string  halved golf tees
 18" x 24" black construction paper

Procedures and observations:

1. Measure three or four evenly spaced points on the rim of the paper cone. It is important to be accurate. Using a hole punch or a pencil, carefully punch small holes at these points. Thread the string through these holes and tie evenly as shown.

2. Join the string in the center and slip the string over the paper clip hanging from your pendulum.

3. Place newspaper and black construction paper under your pendulum. Carefully cut a small hole in the bottom of your cone. Cover the hole with your finger or with masking tape until you are ready to make your patterns. Fill the cone half full to make a sand pendulum.

4. Experiment with making symmetrical patterns. Pour the sand from your black paper back into your cone. Try a new pattern. Draw at least three of the sand patterns you make.

5. Measure from the center of the design to the sides. The distance from the center to both edges should be the same. This distance is called the pullback distance. Label the center and the pullback distance on your drawings.

Teacher's Guide