the Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development
Available Languages: English, French
This item is a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) activity for introductory physics relating to conservation of energy and gravitational potential energy. In this scenario, students are given a rough design for a bungee jump from a 20-meter tower. They work cooperatively to figure out the parameters for a safe jump. While some information is given, the student is required to research certain aspects, such as the medically-recommended maximum acceleration for an untrained jumper. In keeping with the PBL method, students will sift through information to separate useful from irrelevant data, locate missing information on their own, and then apply physics in finding solutions.
This resource includes a printable student manual and a password-protected teacher's guide with solutions and tips for instructors. SEE RELATED ITEMS for a link to the full collection of PBL exercises by the same authors.
6-8: 3B/M4a. Systems fail because they have faulty or poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with.
9-12: 3B/H1. In designing a device or process, thought should be given to how it will be manufactured, operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of and who will sell, operate, and take care of it. The costs associated with these functions may introduce yet more constraints on the design.
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
4G. Forces of Nature
3-5: 4G/E1. The earth's gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it.
9. The Mathematical World
9-12: 9A/H3. When calculations are made with measurements, a small error in the measurements may lead to a large error in the results.
11. Common Themes
9-12: 11A/H2. Understanding how things work and designing solutions to problems of almost any kind can be facilitated by systems analysis. In defining a system, it is important to specify its boundaries and subsystems, indicate its relation to other systems, and identify what its input and output are expected to be.
12. Habits of Mind
12B. Computation and Estimation
9-12: 12B/H2. Find answers to real-world problems by substituting numerical values in simple algebraic formulas and check the answer by reviewing the steps of the calculation and by judging whether the answer is reasonable.
9-12: 12B/H9. Consider the possible effects of measurement errors on calculations.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
High School — Number and Quantity (9-12)
N-Q.3 Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.
High School — Algebra (9-12)
Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
A-SSE.1.a Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.
A-SSE.2 Use the structure of an expression to identify ways to rewrite it.
High School — Functions (9-12)
Building Functions (9-12)
F-BF.1.a Determine an explicit expression, a recursive process, or steps for calculation from a context.
Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Common Core State Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects 6—12
Research to Build and Present Knowledge (6-12)
WHST.11-12.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
<a href="https://www.compadre.org/introphys/items/detail.cfm?ID=9632">Cyr, Camil. Problem Based Learning: Bungee Jumping. Edited by Caroline Viger. Montreal: Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, December 31, 2008.</a>
C. Cyr, , edited by C. Viger (Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, Montreal, 2007), WWW Document, (http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=157&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=bungee%20jumping).
C. Cyr, Problem Based Learning: Bungee Jumping, edited by C. Viger (Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, Montreal, 2007), <http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=157&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=bungee%20jumping>.
Cyr, C. (2008, December 31). Problem Based Learning: Bungee Jumping. Retrieved December 9, 2023, from Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development: http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=157&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=bungee%20jumping
Cyr, Camil. Problem Based Learning: Bungee Jumping. Edited by Caroline Viger. Montreal: Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development, December 31, 2008. http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=157&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=bungee%20jumping (accessed 9 December 2023).
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%0 Electronic Source %A Cyr, Camil %D December 31, 2008 %T Problem Based Learning: Bungee Jumping %E Viger, Caroline %I Collegial Centre for Educational Materials Development %V 2023 %N 9 December 2023 %8 December 31, 2008 %9 text/html %U http://pbl.ccdmd.qc.ca/resultat.php?action=clicFiche&he=1050&afficheRecherche=99&IDFiche=157&endroitRetour=99&lesMotsCles=bungee%20jumping
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This is the full collection of Problem-Based Learning activities compiled and written by the same authors. Topics include kinematics, dynamics, work and energy, circular motion, and conservation of energy.
For the beginning student, this is a very simple simulation of a weighted vertical spring in simple harmonic motion. Users can adjust spring constant, mass, and amplitude with sliders or by entering exact values. Though the motion of a bungee jump is more complicated, this applet could serve as a concept-builder before introducing the bungee jumping PBL activity.