Bungee Jumping!

The science of bungee jumping is an engaging way to teach about forces as well as algebra. Modelling a bungee jump with an egg or a Barbie doll has been a popular science lesson for students from Year 7 and up, and allows students to investigate linear equations.

This article includes a detailed analysis of the Egg Bungee Jump activity from the National Science Teacher’s Association of USA. It also has clearly labelled diagrams of the forces involved and a sample laboratory sheet for students.

The Barbie Bungee Jump, from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is a student hand-out that provides the method and questions about the investigation. There is another online version here with step-by-step photographs.

This activity is an effective method for learning about the science inquiry process. Below are the Content Descriptions for Level 7&8 and Level 9&10. Notice how there is a clear progression from lower level comprehension, application and analysis to higher levels of synthesis and evaluation. The key differences between the bands are italicized.

Level 7 and 8 Science Inquiry Level 9 and 10 Science Inquiry
Questioning and predicting

Identify questions, problems and claims that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on scientific knowledge (VCSIS107)

Questioning and predicting

Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically, including identification of independent, dependent and controlled variables (VCSIS134)

Planning and conducting

Collaboratively and individually plan and conduct a range of investigation types, including fieldwork and experiments, ensuring safety and ethical guidelines are followed (VCSIS108)

In fair tests, measure and control variables, and select equipment to collect data with accuracy appropriate to the task (VCSIS109)

Planning and conducting

Independently plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including fieldwork and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data, assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these investigation types (VCSIS135)

Select and use appropriate equipment and technologies to systematically collect and record accurate and reliable data, and use repeat trials to improve accuracy, precision and reliability (VCSIS136)

Recording and processing

Construct and use a range of representations including graphs, keys and models to record and summarise data from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and to represent and analyse patterns and relationships (VCSIS110)

 

Recording and processing

Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys, models and formulas, to record and summarise data from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, to represent qualitative and quantitative patterns or relationships, and distinguish between discrete and continuous data (VCSIS137)

Analysing and evaluating

Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to identify relationships, evaluate claims and draw conclusions (VCSIS111)

Reflect on the method used to investigate a question or solve a problem, including evaluating the quality of the data collected, and identify improvements to the method (VCSIS112)

 

 

 

Analysing and evaluating

Analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between variables, identifying inconsistencies in data and sources of uncertainty, and drawing conclusions that are consistent with evidence (VCSIS138)

Use knowledge of scientific concepts to evaluate investigation conclusions, including assessing the approaches used to solve problems, critically analysing the validity of information obtained from primary and secondary sources, suggesting possible alternative explanations and describing specific ways to improve the quality of data (VCSIS139)

Communicating

Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems including identifying impacts and limitations of conclusions and using appropriate scientific language and representations (VCSIS113)

Communicating

Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (VCSIS140)

Level 7 and 8 Science Understanding Level 9 and 10 Science Understanding
Physical Sciences

Change to an object’s motion is caused by unbalanced forces acting on the object; Earth’s gravity pulls objects towards the centre of Earth(VCSSU103)

Energy appears in different forms including movement (kinetic energy), heat, light, chemical energy and potential energy; devices can change energy from one form to another (VCSSU104)

Physical Sciences

The description and explanation of the motion of objects involves the interaction of forces and the exchange of energy and can be described and predicted using the laws of physics (VCSSU133)

Level 7 Mathematics Level 9 Mathematics
Patterns and Algebra

Introduce the concept of variables as a way of representing numbers using letters (VCMNA251)

Create algebraic expressions and evaluate them by substituting a given value for each variable  (VCMNA252)

Extend and apply the laws and properties of arithmetic to algebraic terms and expressions (VCMNA253)

Patterns and Algebra

Apply set structures to solve real-world problems (VCMNA307)

Linear and non-linear relationships

Sketch linear graphs using the coordinates of two points and solve linear equations (VCMNA310)

Graph simple non-linear relations with and without the use of digital technologies and solve simple related equations (VCMNA311)

Level 8 Mathematics Level 10 Mathematics
Linear and non-linear relationships

Plot linear relationships on the Cartesian plane with and without the use of digital technologies (VCMNA283)

Solve linear equations using algebraic and graphical techniques. Verify solutions by substitution (VCMNA284)

Plot graphs of non-linear real life data with and without the use of digital technologies, and interpret and analyse these graphs (VCMNA285)

 

Linear and non-linear relationships

Solve problems involving linear equations, including those derived from formulas (VCMNA335)

Statistics and Probability

Data Representation and Interpretation (Level 10)

Use scatter plots to investigate and comment on relationships between two numerical variables (VCMSP352)

Investigate and describe bivariate numerical data, including where the independent variable is time (VCMSP353)

Data Representation and Interpretation (Level 10A)

Use digital technology to investigate bivariate numerical data sets. Where appropriate use a straight line to describe the relationship allowing for variation, make predictions based on this straight line and discuss limitations (VCMSP373)

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