Pendulum Art

Author: Mendy Reese
Year: 2021
Artform: Visual Art
Subjects: Science
Grade: 3rd Grade
Duration: 1 Session

For this lesson, students will work together to make a large scale pendulum to create works of art as a group. This project is done on a large scale and so it is best to do it outside or in a gymnasium. Students will build the pendulum, using the traffic cones to hold the long board. Students then will attach the string to the center of the board and attach the condiment bottle to the string with the paper clip. The nut or washer will be attached to the string to add weight. (Pieces are large 7-8 feet tall, each class will make 6-7 pieces of art)


  • 2 Large traffic cones
  • Long board (approx 12’ in length)
  • String
  • Tarp
  • Condiment Bottle (cut off bottom for paint to pour in and hole punch to sides to attach paper clip). You can use a cup instead, but the condiment bottle has a stopper so paint won’t pour out until you are ready.
  • Large paper clip
  • Nut or washer
  • Large Paper
  • Paint


Art Lesson: STEAM Pendulum Painting *This is a great video kids can watch. It can show students how to make a pendulum at home.

Download PDF Lesson Plan

Standards & Objectives

Fine Art Standards
Integrated Standards

Force Affects Motion (Strand 3.3):

Forces act on objects and have both a strength and a direction. An object at rest typically has multiple forces acting on it, but they are balanced, resulting in a zero net force on the object. Forces that are unbalanced can cause changes in an object’s speed or direction of motion. The patterns of an object’s motion in various situations can be observed, measured, and used to predict future motion. Forces are exerted when objects come in contact with each other; however, some forces can act on objects that are not in contact. The gravitational force of Earth, acting on an object near Earth’s surface, pulls that object toward the planet’s center. Electric and magnetic forces between a pair of objects can act at a distance. The strength of these non-contact forces depends on the properties of the objects and the distance between the objects.

Students will create art by using force, gravity and motion.

Teaching and Timeline


Students will place large pieces of paper or poster boards under the pendulum. Be sure to work on a tarp.

Students will fill the condiment bottle with paint and swing the pendulum. Students will change paint, paper and direction of swing as they decide.


  • Why do we need the washer or nut attached to the string? How does the weight of the nut affect the swinging?
  • If the paint is creating drips and not lines, what do we need to do with the paint? How can we make it flow more easily? (Water down the paint to get lines-thicker paint makes a dot pattern.)
  • As the pendulum slows down, what happens to the paint lines? (The lines get closer and closer together). Why does this happen? Allow students to discuss and talk about it.
  • What happens if a student swings the pendulum and it wobbles? Does it straighten itself out? Do lines eventually cross?
  • What patterns do you see being made?
  • What colors compliment each other? What colors create contrast? What happens when the paints are wet? Do we see colors mixing?
  • Is this something students can make at home? What materials are readily available (stools, ladder, swing set) (paper cup, or empty ketchup bottle)(yardstick or broom handle)?

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