Barbie Bungee Revisited and Better Than Yours Class Lists

This year I’ve taken away a lot of my step-by-step instructions for the Barbie Bungee activity that I’d posted 1.5 years ago.

They get no handouts, only some verbal instructions:

See that gob of tape up there? That’s leftover tape from previous years where Barbie had taken her jump. It should be at 3 meters up. Well, a small ruler will come out perpendicular (somehow) to that pole where the tape is, and that’s Barbie’s jumping platform. The ruler is like her diving board.


The goal is to give her the most thrilling jump — her head dips as close to the ground as possible without actually touching it. Yes, her hair hitting the ground is fine. Her jump line is made of rubber bands tied together with slip knots. (Why must we use brand new rubber bands?)

You’ll work in groups of three, says Instant Classroom.


So, aside from the Barbie doll, what do you think your supplies will be?

Rubber bands!

How many?

Lots! A hundred!

Try six. Actually seven, but one must be completely wrapped around her ankle, like this.


With only 6 rubber bands, your job is to figure out how many more rubber bands she’ll need for the most thrilling jump from 3 meters.

Can we weigh her?

This is like the Vroom car!

So we have to graph, then do the extension thingy. Extrapolate.

Oh, the equation is in slope-intercept form!

(We’ve been looking at word problems and writing linear equations that would be more appropriate in standard form or in slope-intercept form.)

Your team will have until the end of tomorrow’s class time to submit your number of additional rubber bands you’d want.

For easier management of the rubber bands, I get them ready in bundles of 7, one to each group for testing and data gathering, and in bundles of 10 and extras to give out as requested on jump day.



I liked the messiness of their initial work. (I didn’t give a handout or many instructions for Vroom! either, and they did fine.) Kids doing whatever they think they should do, measuring incorrectly, plotting ill-looking graphs, talking and criticizing one another. I was debating when I should intervene, but it was good for me to just observe and listen in.

I waited until the next day to point out stuff. Actually I never told them what they should do, I tried instead to ask them how something should be done. I don’t think one single idea came from me — someone always had the answer I was hoping for, so all the “correct” ways to do things came from them.


My phone apparently didn’t have enough memory after this one clip. It was fun. (One kid also brought up that this was like the Stacking Cups lesson that we did.)

This might seem to you a DUH! share, but I only thought of it earlier this year, and I feel like I invented the paper clip.

We all have class lists, of course. But is each of your class lists on a strip of paper like this? And in different colors? I didn’t think so.


I have semi-thick stacks of these to use for just about everything. What a pain to write down kids’ names for this and that. Instead I just pull out a strip and highlight so-and-so’s name and note the reason.

  • I staple one set of strips together, put a date on it, and kids pass it around to each other to sign in for after-school help — they just need to put their initials next to their names.
  • Those who need to come in at lunch recess get their names highlighted on the strip.
  • I use it as a hall pass when I need to send 2 to 3 students at a time to the library.
  • I highlight a kid’s name whose parent I need to contact, then use the back of the strip to make notes from our conversation.
  • It’s a great tally sheet for whatever during class.
  • Endless uses.
This entry was posted in Algebra, General and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.