I dreaded going back to school today. I had a very very bad Friday before the vacation.
But today wasn't bad at all. I gave the kids a definition of the pendulum: "A system, comprised of an overhead support, from which a string hangs, and an object at the bottom end of the string. The object swings back and forth under the combined influence of gravity and the string." Then I gave them a string and told them to make their own pendulums. They had to supply the overhead support and the object at the bottom of the string. They came up with all kinds of variations on the pendulum using pens, keys, erasers, rings, earrings, etc. One boy took off his shoe and swung it by the shoelace--yes, that too is a pendulum.
Even Nathan came through today. Students were giving examples of pendulums in daily life and he offered the example of the trapeze in the circus.
Tomorrow we will do the time-honored experiment to find out if the mass of the object affects the swing of the pendulum.
I look forward to going to work tomorrow.