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Full STEAM Ahead: Advanced Statistics

Linear regression, but make it fun!

That was math faculty Kathy Bliss's idea when her Advanced Statistics course reached this chapter in her lesson plans. In teaching her students the concepts related to linear regression, she posed a question to her students. How to safely launch a projectile off the balcony without it hitting the ground. The projectile: Barbie. 

Called the "Barbie Bungee," students theorized how many rubber bands would be necessary to ensure Barbie had a safe bungee jump off the balcony, with the mission of not sending her crashing to the ground. In groups, students collected data on how far their subject would travel using different quantities of rubber bands. Using a scatterplot, they graphed their findings hoping to identify a pattern. Students hypothesized how many rubber bands it would take to safely complete this mission, and at the end of the chapter, they tested their theories. 

All groups had successful "bungee jump" missions, and Barbie had many exciting leaps off the balcony, coming only inches off the ground without hitting it. Using a slow-motion video, Ms. Bliss recorded each team's experiment for later review of successful completion. It was a sight to be seen in our foyer, as innovative minds were busy at work!