Inquiry Template

Some students have trouble writing inquiries. Here is a template that may help.

In this template, sample text is in **bold** or normal style, while instructions are in *italics*.

1) What was the lab set-up?

2) What action occurred?

3) What was measured (independent and dependent variables)?

4) What devices were used to make the measurements?

5) What changes were made in independent variables to establish the range of data collected?

This table shows...

item (units) | item (units) | item (units) |

datum | datum | datum |

datum | datum | datum |

This table shows...

item (units) | item (units) | item (units) |

datum | datum | datum |

datum | datum | datum |

Error in this inquiry came in part from the uncertainty associated with each measuring device:

Device | Limit of Calibration | Uncertainty |

meter stick | 0.001 m | +/- 0.004 m |

CBL (photogate) | 0.001 s | +/- 0.004 s |

Other sources of error in this inquiry were...

Analysis of the data in the above tables proceeded as follows:

Graph 1 (attached) shows the relationship between...

The period of a simple pendulum is proportional to the square root of the length of the pendulum. The formula relating these two variables is period = (0.200 s/cm^{1/2}) length^{1/2}.

Mass seemed to have little or no effect on the period of the pendulum. When mass was increased by 500% (100 g to 500 g), the period changed by less than 2% (2.008 s to 2.021 s).

Calculations (attached) show that the error due to measuring the length of the pendulum from trial to trial could have resulted in more than 2% variation in the period.

Changes in mass and amplitude have at best a small effect on the period of a simple pendulum. The formula relating the period of the pendulum to its length is period = (0.200 s/cm^{1/2}) length^{1/2}. Since frequency is the reciprocal of period, the frequency of a simple pendulum is proportional to the inverse of the square root of its length.