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Statistics Lab: Bungee Barbie drops from class

Making math fun can be a difficult task. So, when Ashley Hernandez decided to teach statistics through dropping Barbies off a third floor balcony, the students were excited to learn.

Every Barbie had rubber bands wrapped around her legs so that when she took the big jump she would not fall. Varying the number of rubber bands she had around her ankles, the students then recorded how far she traveled.

The original numbers that they recorded were put into linear regression equations.

In order to start this project, the students took Barbie at the beginning of the chapter and had her jump with 0-7 rubber bands on her legs, and they documented the data. They had to calculate a regression line based on this introductory data. They would then use that line to try to predict Barbie’s distance on a larger scale. The class tried to predict a variable far outside the original set of data through discussing the definition of extrapolation and realized that this would sometimes lead to unreliable predictions. Through their equation, the class predicted that Barbie would need 35 rubber bands to bungee jump and not reach the floor, when in fact she only needed 22.

In order to complete their labs, the students had to predict the distance she would travel based on the number of rubber bands their group came up with. Some of the groups had to take multiple trials to accurately determine how many rubber bands it would take Barbie to have a good jump but not hit the ground.

“We tied rubber bands around Barbie’s feet, NOT neck because that would be a bad message, and we put more rubber band bands on the end of each other to make her fall longer without her hitting the ground or else she would die,” said Riverview student Alexa Milcetic ’19.

Hernandez’ teacher friend from Fruitville Elementary donated her daughter’s Barbies for this cause. Sadly, one did not make it through the activity. The Barbies jumped from Bldg. 5’s second floor balcony in the middle atrium to the first floor.

Many students enjoyed the project and had a lot of fun learning. The classes were able to tie the entire chapter into this project.

“...Using statistics, we had a predictable variable that we either proved wrong or right. It took one period to do, and we had some prior lessons about what we were expecting. The class partook in it and we all had fun,” continued Milcetic ‘19.

Math can be difficult for a lot of students, and sometimes teachers need to get creative with their teaching. Hernandez upped her game when educating her students about statistics and made it enjoyable.

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