Teaching High School Mathematics
Here is a video of one student’s Barbie Bungee success. Successful Jump
Are we doing math or playing with Barbies? The world will never know. I found Barbie Bungee on a few different blog posts online. I adjusted the Desmos activity from what another teacher did and included some student estimations that allowed us to have some good interactive whole class discussions about what a thrilling and safe ride should be. Everyone was able to include their thoughts through Desmos activity builder at the same time and see their estimates with the whole class in real time. Pretty cool!
Here’s what I came up with: Desmos Barbie Bungee
Here is the gist:
The Materials: A Barbie, computer, Rubber Bands, ziplock, and Tape Measure for each group. Computer is optional – You could plot the points and trend line by hand.
The Activity: Have students create a bungee cord out of rubber bands for Barbie to bungee jump off of our building.
The Goal: get as close to the ground as possible as long as Barbie doesn’t hit her head. I gave students the height of the building.
The Process: Students will have Barbie Bungee jump with a one rubber band bungee cord and record how far her head comes down from the jump site. They will repeat this with 2, 3, 4, etc. up to 10 or more rubber bands, each time recording the distance Barbie’s head comes down from the jump site. Students will then plot their data and draw a trend line. They will use the trend line to predict the number of rubber bands needed for Barbie to have a thrilling jump without hitting her head.
One thing I like about this activity was that almost all the students are involved and engaged. I have one student who pretty much refuses to do anything and he participated.
It was nice that the Barbies are different weights and different groups tied their rubber bands differently because these differences resulted in different slopes for each group’s trend line. Each group had to use their own data or they will be way off. It was cool to see a group that doubled their rubber bands have a more gradual slope which resulted in way more rubber bands, but they still had a good prediction from their trend line.