Period and amplitude: Quantitative Observational Experiment


Devise physical variables to describe the motion of the glider on the spring and also determine whether there is a relationship between these variables.

Prior Knowledge

  • Displacement
  • Velocity
  • Acceleration
  • Potential energy
  • Kinetic energy

Description of the Experiment

Observe the motion of a cart attached to a compressible spring. Decide what relevant data you can collect using the video.

Youtube movies can be stepped frame by frame using the , and . keys on your keyboard. If you want to download the movie to your computer, right-click or control-click HERE.


  • Draw a motion diagram for the cart for each experiment.
  • Draw a free-body diagram for the cart at five different points of the cycle.
  • Describe the changes of energy in the system cart-spring. Choose the same 5 points as you did in the question before.
  • Why did the cart go back to the original position after it was being pulled away? Why didn't it stop when the force exereted on it by the spring was zero?
  • Show the points where the cart was moving in the direction opposite to the direction of the force exerted on it by the spring. How can you explain this?
  • Did it take the cart the same time to complete one full cycle in all experiments? How can you explain this?