As a High School or Undergraduate Physics teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to teach about Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM) and Simple Harmonic Oscillators.

This lesson plan will allow you to teach your students about Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM) and simple harmonic oscillators and engage them in a hands-on activity to explore these concepts. Simple harmonic oscillations, that occur in stratified fluids due to the Archimedes' principle of buoyancy, can affect the flow of energy within large scale systems such as the Earth's atmosphere and the oceans by the displacement of parcels of air/water. This lesson plan will thus, explain how natural oscillations in the atmosphere/oceans with the Brunt-Väisälä frequency affect cloud formation, occurrence of thunderstorms, and internal waves within oceans and thus, affect the climate.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Physics.

Grade Level: Undergraduate
Discipline: Physics
Topics: Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM), Simple Harmonic Oscillators, Brunt-Väisälä Frequency, Archimedes' Principle of Buoyancy in Fluids, Stratified Fluids, Density Gradient
Climate Topic: Climate and the Atmosphere, Climate and the Hydrosphere
Location: Global
Languages: English
Duration: 50-60 min

Learning Outcomes

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  • learn about Simple Harmonic Motion (SHM) and Simple Harmonic Oscillators
  • demonstrate SHM in the laboratory
  • explain how Archimedes' principle (buoyancy of objects in fluids) can cause parcels of air/water to oscillate in the atmosphere/ocean with the Brunt-Väisälä frequency
  • how the Brunt-Väisälä frequency can be used to predict cloud formation and thunderstorms
Teacher-contributed lesson plan by Joy Merwin Monteiro, India