Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

February 28, 2006 > Barbie and Ken teach math

Barbie and Ken teach math

by Kathy Fields

Fremont's Centerville Junior High pre-algebra students will take a big jump in their math education this week with an upcoming lesson entitled "Barbie Bungee Jumping". Honor students will be divided into small teams to complete - and compete - the assignment.

Barbie Bungee Jumping is a math activity connecting basic algebraic skills of graphing, measurement, data collection, and problem solving.

Students link rubber bands and tie them onto a Barbie doll's feet. Then, Barbie (or Ken) is dropped and the group measures the length of the fall. Students then repeat the process after adding several more bands. From the data, two ordered pairs are determined (number of rubber bands: length of fall).

At this point, students use technology (TI-73 calculators) to graph the ordered pairs. With the aid of the calculator, the graph can be extended to determine how many bands will be needed to do a jump off the top of the nearly 40' high Centerville Junior High gym roof-top. The goal is to give Barbie (or Ken) the longest, most thrilling jump without causing any harm to the doll.

The actual Barbie jump will take place on Wednesday, March 1 at lunchtime. Vance Hamilton, a colleague of Math teacher Kathy Fields, adds to the excitement of the noontime event; he not only drops the dolls, but also thrills the crowd by dropping candy from the roof, too.

The event is judged by a panel of teachers to determine first, second, and third place finishers. Prizes await the winners: Barbie kites, Barbie candy compacts, and Barbie chocolates.

This activity is funded by the Fremont Education Foundation. Fields applied for an "Innovative Grant", which provided for the purchase of 10 calculators, lots of Barbie dolls and rubber bands. Hang in there Barbie!

 
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