Barbie Bungee: Will She Survive?

In November our Algebra I students experimented with creating a bungee jumping company that has one client, a Barbie. The goal of their project was to figure out how many rubber bands they needed to use to have Barbie safely bungee off the Collection Space railing in the middle school while giving her a thrilling ride.

The project began with groups of student each creating their company and mission statement. From there, students gathered data on multiple smaller jumps. For each jump, they averaged their three data points. They then graphed their data on paper and using a calculator and found a line of best fit. After determining which line they wanted to use moving forward, they did several application problems including determining how many rubber bands it would take to safely bungee of the Eiffel Tower. The final step was using their equation to calculate the number of rubber bands needed for their big jump in the Collection Space.

On the day of the big jump, students took turns releasing their Barbie in the Collection Space, filming the experience. Other students and teachers stopped by to see how the jumps went. There were many comments from students who remembered completing the project previously, or who were looking forward to having their chance in the future. The final piece of the project was reflecting on the experience, including whether or not they felt they were successful.

This project allowed students to learn about scatter plots and lines of best fit while also gathering data, working with a group, using both paper and a graphing calculator and making comparisons between them as well as having fun with dropping a Barbie attached to rubber bands multiple times. Overall, the success rate of the jumps was high, and the students incorporated many of their previously learned math skills into the project.

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