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Topic: ABS Jumping Frogs
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Posts: 144
Registered: 12/6/04
ABS Jumping Frogs
Posted: Dec 28, 1996 8:22 AM
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ABS "Jumping Frogs" activity (_Student Guide_, p.175):

I don't think it would be too strong to say this was a "blast" when we
tried it last summer. For those who don't know the activity, the idea is
to get four groups of students to make Origami frogs that actually jump,
using all four combinations of 2 weights of paper x 2 sizes of paper.

I'll try to imagine translating that experience to A.P. Statistics
students. I think they need to be allowed to organize their own
experiment. Several decisions have to be made: how to measure distances
(starting line to furthest extremity; distances perpendicular to the
starting line, or straight-line distance, at any angle to the starting
line; how best to record the data (my students decided to mark landing
spots with tape and measure later, as I recall); number of practice jumps
(there's probably a learning effect here); and so on.

What's interesting is that few students can predict with any confidence
which type of frog will jump best. But when it's over, there is likely
to be (or, at least, was last summer) a clear winner. Furthermore, part
of the objective here, I think, is to get at the idea of an interaction
effect. One also can argue that, at least sometimes, a factorial
experiment can be more efficient than studying variables one at a time.

It's easy to make the mistake of trying to use paper that's too heavy.
Origami paper probably would work well for the lighter weight; something
like copier paper might work well for the heavier paper. Twenty-pound
paper--good laser paper can be this weight, I believe--probably is too
heavy to make the frog easily.

Bruce King
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Western Connecticut State University
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810

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