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Does this graph prove or disprove the theory by jqr68J8Y


									                         Dr. Olivo’s Hairy Eyeball Theory
                              A Middle School Lesson
                              Submitted by Kathy Hill

The Mathematics: Scatter plots are used to analyze data and search for

The task: Students will time each other to see how long they can hold their eyes
open. They will also measure the length of each other’s hair. The goal is for students
to graph the data to prove or disprove Dr. Olivo’s hairy eyeball theory.
(Adapted from: A Graphing Matter: Activities for Easing into Algebra by Mark

Materials: Metric rulers and stop watches.

The Lesson:
Before the task (introducing)
1. Say: “Have you ever wondered what the expression “hairy eyeball” means? You
might think that it has something to do with the look your teacher gives you when you
are doing something that you shouldn’t but what do hair and eyes have to do with
one another? Dr. Maria Olivo (not a real person) believes that long hair makes people
blink. Apparently the added weight puts pressure on the nerve endings around the
base of the follicles, stimulating overall increased neural activity, which results in
more frequent blinking. Do you believe this?”

2. Have students form groups of three with the following roles: blink observer, blink
timer, and blinkless test subject. Rotate positions until each person has been tested.

3. Have students measure the length of their partner’s longest hair in centimeters.

4. Place data points on the posted classroom graph.

During the task
Questions to ask:
    Does this graph prove or disprove the theory?
    What would the graph look like that proves her theory?
    Is there a relationship between time without blinking and the length of a
       person’s hair?
    Brainstorm variables that might really affect how long a person can hold his
       eyes open.
After the task (summarizing)
1. Discuss class graph. Sample:
     time without blinking (sec)

                                        0       5   10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
                                                    length of longest hair (cm)

2. List variables that might really affect how long a person can hold his eyes open.
Have students pick a variable and pretend that they conducted the experiment.
Draw what they think the graph would look like. Samples:                          time with out blinking

   time with out blinking

                                        100                                                                100
                                        80                                                                 80

                                        60                                                                 60
                                        40                                                                 40
                                        20                                                                 20
                                            0                                                               0
                                                0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18                                         0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18
                                                     hours aw ake                                                     cups of coffee

Have students share and explain their graphs.

Optional: Discuss vocabulary –
Independent variable – value that is changed on purpose (length of longest hair)
Dependent variable – value that is affected by the change (time without blinking)
Correlation – when there does appear to be a relationship between the variables but
it does not always imply a cause-effect relationship
        Weak – loose pattern of the data points
        Strong – tight pattern of the data points suggesting either a line or curve
        Positive – slope moving up; both variables increasing
        Negative – slope moving down; one variable increasing and the other variable

Assessment: Make up a fake theory. Design and conduct an experiment. Graph the
data. Explain how the graph proves or disproves the theory.

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