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ABS Jumping Frogs
Posted:
Dec 28, 1996 8:22 AM


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 straightline 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. Twentypound papergood laser paper can be this weight, I believeprobably 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 (kingb@wcsu.ctstateu.edu)



