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Science lesson poetry in motion at Wood County summer program

“Wood County Space Mission: Middle” students Danzey Williams, left, and Haylie Boston, right, apply paint into a cup as part of a pendulum painting lesson at Van Devender Middle School on Wednesday. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

PARKERSBURG — Instead of learning about Newton’s Law of Motion by reading a textbook, Wood County School Summer Program students had hands-on experience by learning through pendulum painting to create art at Van Devender Middle School on Wednesday.

Pendulum painting is when an object hangs from another fixed point, as the pendulum swings it follows an elliptical path.

By using paint and a cup, it creates a trail of the path the pendulum is following, creating what looks like a gravitational orbit pattern on paper, according to art teacher Hannah Eller.

“Object in motion stays in motion until a force acts upon it. Because the friction of the cup is turning in the air, the air friction causes it to slow down and it creates what looks like a gravitational orbit pattern on the paper,” said Eller.

According to Wood County School Academic Coach Joanna Mulligan, students will then learn about the process in more detail in the classroom as part of lessons next week.

The Pendulum Painting process in motion. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

“In their classes over the next week they are going to be looking at some of the math behind it,” Mulligan said. “Looking more closely at how it works and why it did. So this is kind of a kickoff activity for some future classes.”

Mulligan said the purpose of the new program is to allow students a chance for standard-based instruction on middle school concepts in addition to reengaging in the learning process for the upcoming school year.

The program, called “Space Mission: Middle” is available to all students in Wood County that are in sixth through eighth grades. Students participated in Science, Technology. Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.), physical activity, art and clubs, compete in daily team intramural challenges, creative projects, interactive experiences, and listen to guest speakers and presentations.

“Our goal was to not just be a traditional summer program. So students are mixed grades six through eight. They’re working on some very important reading, writing, and math skills,” Mulligan said. “But they’re also having a lot of fun. It’s been a beneficial time and I’m hoping that this is something we can continue for students.”

Tyler Bennett can be reached at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

Some of the artwork done by “Wood County Space Mission: Middle” students using the pendulum painting technique at Van Devender Middle School on Wednesday. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

“Wood County Space Mission: Middle” students Rilyn Chancellor, left, and Madelyn Turner, right, apply paint into a cup as part of a pendulum painting lesson at Van Devender Middle School on Wednesday. (Photo by Tyler Bennett)

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