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Endorsement Stories

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AP Statistics: Barbie Bungee Jumping Experiment

Are you adventurous? Like bungee jumping? Do you think the length of the cord and the size of the person matters when bungee jumping? Would it be smart to lie about your height or weight? Recently, as students learned about linear regression, in AP Stats, they explored this idea through a Barbie Bungee Activity. Their objective is to give Barbie the greatest thrill while still ensuring that she is safe. This means that she should come as close as possible to the ground without hitting the floor. Students were faced with answering the following question: How many rubber bands should we attach to Barbie so that she could bungee jump from the school's Library Balcony (so fun), but without hitting her head on the ground (not fun). The catch? Students could only use seven rubber bands to figure this out. They first collected data on how far their Barbie would fall using 0-7 rubber bands. Next, they constructed an LSRL (least-squares regression line) and used that line to figure out how many rubber bands would be needed to have the most thrilling jump from Valor’s Library Balcony, which is approximately 225 inches off the ground. Before the jumps took place, students also investigated the following questions: How safe is Barbie? How good are the predictions for Barbie? How do outliers affect the LSRL? Is it wise to use extrapolation?  The classes experienced mixed results. Several ended up pushing the limit, and Barbie had an exhilarating but less-than-soft landing on the ground. Others played it safe. And finally, a few experienced extremely thrilling jumps. Overall, Alessa Jackson, Elsa Johnson, Sofia Weidknecht, and Emily Whisler came away with the most thrilling jump of all. This holiday season looks for Bungee Jump Barbie Limited Edition, which will come with a full helmet and parachute.

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