Barbie Bungee Two Ways…Revisited

My grand plans to do the Barbie Bungee activity with all of my classes fell through, what with promotion practice for the 8th graders and placement testing for the 7th graders.  However, I was able to complete the activity with my 7/8 accelerated math class (which is a block period everyday). We took half of the block period over each of two days to complete this activity.  I have to say that the students really had a great time with the entire experience–even the graphing, which they normally  hate!  I used the 8th grade version of the recording sheet that I developed because we have been working on 8th grade standards this semester.  

Takeaways from my first ever run through of this activity:

1) I will definitely continue to have strict parameters regarding Barbie Bungee behavior.  I stole the ideas for this conversation from Fawn Nguyen–which I mentioned in my last post.  

2) Because I didn’t have the time to find a safe, tall drop point outside (I briefly thought about using the canopy over our picnic tables outside our classroom wing, but decided I was too lazy to bring a ladder from home or have the custodian bring a ladder out), I decided to use the top of my ceiling-mounted LCD projector as the drop point.  It was 235 centimeters from the floor. 

3) The particular drop point I used meant that I didn’t need to have the students conduct so many trials.  (The data recording sheet had space for 7 trials).  I ended up cutting the students off at 5 trials.  For each trial, I had them find an average of 3 drops.  



  4) I pre-measured Barbie’s and Ken’s initial drops with the anchor rubberband (the first rubberband attached). Barbie was 31.5 centimeters and Ken was 33.5 centimeters.  Since the number of rubberbands is the independent variable (x), I made this initial drop 0.  This was useful when discussing the meaning of the y-intercept on the graph. In the future, I would let them find this on their own. 

5) Students were working in groups of 4.  Once they completed their trials and graphs, I had them make predictions on how many rubberbands they would need to give Barbie (or Ken) the most thrilling jump–getting as close to the floor without hitting Barbie’s or Ken’s head.  The winning group got a prize.  They loved this part.  🙂

6)  I wish I would have had someone take a video of the jump from the LCD projector–it was very exciting and the kids were so into it!  Oh well…I guess I can do it again next year and post the video then!

7) This was a comprehensive and fun way to end the unit. It gave me one last formative check-in with students on the major concepts and allowed them to play with math–something they don’t get enough of. 

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