Barbie Bungee Jumping Now, Spaghetti and Textbooks Later

So, I did the Barbie Bungee Jumping this week.  Yay!  I honestly adore this lesson.  There are so many skills that come together in linear functions.  Besides, I've got some great pictures of some big, tough, 8th grade guys playing with Barbie.... what could be better?


Four out of seven groups were textbook cases.  They followed the directions, asked a couple of minor questions, and were on their way to making predictions about how many rubber bands it would take for Barbie to jump off of the stairwell balcony in our school, safely.  


The remaining three groups struggled. The most common reasons were that they were being a bit too social or simply did not read the directions in the packet.  I completely missed a teachable moment, however.  There was one group that was patiently waiting for me to come and answer their questions.  While they waited, they came up with a completely different method.  When I did get to their table, I saw that they were completely off-track.  A good teacher would have let them follow through with their hypothesis, test it, and then debrief with them, trying to help them develop strategies while they learned from their mistakes.  Instead, I got wrapped up in the moment, tried to rush them as I was frantically looking at the clock, trying to get all groups to finish before the bell rang.  I showed them where there mistake was, and pretty much did the last step for them.


I'm SO angry with myself, in retrospect!  


I actually received an apology email from a student.... said she was sorry for leading her group in the wrong direction.  I QUICKLY replied, telling her that the apology was MY responsibility, following up with a discussion in class.  It actually worked out pretty well.  I was able to give a clear example of what I always preach to students - "Learn from your mistakes."  


This will lead right into our Dan Meyer lesson and spaghetti strength test next week.  Students will be working closely with their group to construct a problem and solution - of which there will be SEVERAL different methods.  I will have a chance to model that I have learned from my mistakes by facilitating the problem solving, not solving the problems for the groups.


The trick will be for me to remember to stay in my role as a facilitator, not as a "do-er".

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Comment by Beverly George on January 13, 2011 at 7:39am
Yup!  That's a site that a used for a lot of my information and the Power Point.  Thanks for sharing that, I was having trouble locating the site again to share with everyone.
Comment by Jamie Tuch on January 8, 2011 at 5:16pm

I was looking around on the internet and I found a site devoted to the barbie bungee jump.  Here is the site.  It is a very detailed explanation of the process.

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