Modeling Oscillating Systems: Physics Component Cross Curricular Connections |

As alluded to in the introduction, systems which exhibit oscillating behavior occur throughout the sciences. In addition to the mechanical systems examined here, electrical systems exhibit oscillations, some chemical reactions exhibit oscillations, some populations exhibit oscillations and many earth - space systems exhibit oscillations. Outside the sciences, social systems can exhibit oscillating behavior. The teacher should engage the students in a discussion which encourages them to recognize oscillating systems. While the restoring force and equilibrium position is not always obvious in all oscillating systems, in some sense both exist.

The physics students will be using mathematics in their data analysis and language arts skills in their presentations and written work. In addition, during the collaboration phase of the module, both the math and physics students will have to use language arts, especially communications, skills for successful completion of that data analysis. When the math students return their results, the physics students will appreciate the usefulness of mathematics in further understanding their results.

There is a small selection of web sites in the references section which show other curricular connections. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse is a classic case of what can go wrong in an oscillating system with a driving force. There are many financial, social and psychological effects when engineering fails. The Pit and the Pendulum web site makes the connection between oscillating motion and the classic short story. Students can use this web site to explore various pendulum variables and how their values could affect the outcome of the story.