STEAM: Exploring Physics with Pendulums

Our learning adventures with Experience Early Learning have taken us to the Rainforest this month. Each week we are studying a different layer of the rainforest and this week is all about the Understory.

As an Experience Early Learning (EEL) Blogger, I receive the EEL Preschool Curriculum in exchange for my honest opinions and authentic stories about our experiences using the curriculum. All opinions and thoughts are completely my own.


We read The Great Kapok Tree outside together and talked about all the animals we would find if we ventured to the rainforest. One of the top animals would be monkeys! As we looked at the pictures, I knew in my head that we were going to explore how weight affects the swing of a vine. So I asked “How do you think monkeys move from place to place?”

My girl was quick to point out that they swing on vines and branches. I told her to hold on to that thought as we were going to do a science experiment after we finished the book.


Experience Early Learning puts together some amazing science experiments for us to do each day and today’s was no exception. Our big question was…

Having already read The Great Kapok Tree my kiddos were already engaged and ready to explore the vine pendulum I had hung from our basketball goal. By the way, this activity lends itself so well to being done outside. If you can get outside, I would totally encourage you to do so!


  • String and Scissors (I used burlap twine I had on hand)
  • a Bag (I used a bag with handles I could easily tie to- like the shape bags from last year’s box. This also allowed my kids to easily add in blocks for weight)
  • Items for weight (makes sure they can be as equal as possible- we used wooden blocks my husband had made from a tree)
  • Chalk or Tool for marking results

The most important task in an experiment is only having one independent or changing variable. That means if my weight is the one thing I am changing, then the distance and height I release the weight have to be the same each time. I know these are young kiddos, but if we are going to teach them we need to do it well and right.


  1. Hang your pendulum with an empty basket/bag attached to the end, keeping it close to the ground but not touching.
  2. Pull it back to the starting distance you want it released each time. Mark your line. We used a chalk line on the ground where my 6 year old placed her toes and we marked a line on our wall where she was to release the bag from so that it was at the same height each time.
  3. Let your pendulum swing. Make sure you only release the bag and not add a push or extra force.
  4. Mark the distance with chalk or your marking tool of choice.
  5. Add a weight (or block) to your bag.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 until you have reached a conclusion.

Results & Conclusion

As my girl performed this experiment, I marked the distance that the bag went each time and labeled under our tick mark how many blocks were in the bag at the time. It didn’t take her long to see that it went further each time we added more weight; yet being the perfectionist that she is, she would not give me a clear guess or hypothesis as to what would happen. She does not like being wrong, yall. Just like her momma, ha!

After we did this experiment with 4 blocks, she came up with her final concluding sentence answering our Big Question…

As we added more weight, the vine swung further (or farther)… jury’s still out as to which is correct in this statement.

Seriously yall. The STEAM stations Experience Early Learning comes up with rock my socks off each and every time, and I was once a 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade science teacher. I know any one of my former students would have loved to do this. Hands on learning is the best.

Want to see more STEAM stations?

Check out these faves!

Skeletal Study

Color Mixing & Tie Dye

Tornado in a Bottle

Creating Shadow Shapes

Root Study

Sedimentary Rocks

Exploring Waterfalls

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