Its an innovative way to get students involved in science, but the bungee cord science project is allowing seventh graders to test gravity, resistance, and the strength of cords constructed from rubber bands. Students were able to test and record measurements, and make predictions based on their observations.
The seventh graders from Hyde Park’s Haviland Middle School constructed a doll drop using Barbie and Ken dolls and the rubber band bungee cords during a summer probram at Bard college.
“We had to find patterns so we could drop [the dolls] from [the balcony],” student Austin Trainor told the Observer after he finished his drop. “Each rubber band would go up 10 centimeters.”
The 26 seventh graders were part of a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) program hosted by Bard College’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. For five Saturdays during the school year and then five days in a row, July 14-18, the students were on campus for hands-on STEM learning, which included such exercises as shooting water balloons to measure arc and force; using nautilus shells to observe Fibonacci sequences, and activities involving tessellations, kaleidoscopes and more.
The students and teachers at the bungee-cord exercise were clearly having a good time watching each doll go over the edge and then recording their findings and talking over the experience in small groups.
“We’ve formed a bond with our teachers that we couldn’t have formed in school,” said student Elizabeth Odendahl. “We’ve learned a lot more than we could have learned in probably months in the classroom….When we’re actually, physically doing the learning, I don’t know, it helps with the learning.”