Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Galileo Galilei

Fabulous book!

We experimented with "Do heavy things fall faster than light things?" yesterday and The Law of Pendulums today. So much more we could have done... telescopes... the Galileo thermometer....

To replicate Galileo's experiment which contradicted Aristotle's statement that objects fall at a speed proportionate to their mass, at first I was going to fill plastic Easter eggs with different weight objects. Then I realized they would break in the fall so that would be a real pain to clean up. So I divided the students up into teams and they looked around the classroom for items to use as weights. We filled latex gloves -- it's a school, so we have boxes of them handy. One was filled with Kleenex. One was filled with erasers. One was filled with glue sticks. We weighed them on the balance and then dropped them simultaneously. And guess what???

Galileo was right.

It was actually his work with pendulums which caused him to think up the famous experiment at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. So we devoted today to pendulums. We tested the period using different weight objects and different length strings to see if our findings matched his findings about The Law of Pendulums. And guess what???

Galileo was right.

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