Barbie encourages students to do the math


Katie Wong

Student partners, Rhett Wallace and Mason Ginn, bungee their Barbies off the second-floor balcony in Melanie Boyd’s 3B class on April 28, 2022.

Barbie plunges off the second-floor balcony as she bungee jumps with rubber bands for a recent project in statistics classes. 

“The students are analyzing two variable quantitative data,” said math teacher Melanie Boyd. “So this project was sort of an introduction and finale to their unit.” 

The Barbie bungee activity is adapted from Students are tasked to calculate the best possible length of Barbie’s bungee rope, exactly how many rubber bands it would take for Barbie to have the best bungee experience. Then students are asked to use regression lines to find the best function for the group of data. 

“[Students] will use regression data, which is inputting a bunch of data to get y=mx+b,” said Boyd. “They’ll input the height and plug it all into a statistics applet that’ll give them their line and give them their x, which is how many rubber bands needed for Barbie to jump safely. Pretty much, their goal is to not kill Barbie.” 

This is Boyd’s first year with Intro to Probability/Statistics classes and her first year with this Barbie project. Mangabat’s AP Statistics classes have done this project for several years.

“The project was pretty fun, it was a really creative way to apply the different concepts we’ve been learning about,” said junior Thomas Locke, a student in Boyd’s 4B Intro to Probability/Statistics class. “We named our Barbie Quandale Dingle XXXLXVII [30067].” 

Since this project can also be tied to Algebra II concepts, Boyd also introduced the project to her Algebra II/Trigonometry classes after the Algebra 2 SOL. 

“I’m excited, I think it’s a fun way to learn math without just sitting at our desks,” said freshman Jordyn Miller, a student in Boyd’s 4A Algebra II/Trigonometry class. “Barbie just adds to the fun.”