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Name: Marissa
Status: student
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Question:
I am working on a project questioning if the height of a person affects the distance they travel while performing a forward roll. I have read your answers about the running and I assume that the answer would be yes, but I am not sure how to "prove" it. Can you help?



Replies:
Sounds like this is a great time for some experiments!! How about if you have each person in your class (or as many people as you can) do a forward roll, and then compare the length data to their height? You could also measure the length of their legs and torso (not everyone is divided the same), and see if one of those factors makes a difference. Make a graph with roll length on the Y axis and people's bio-data on the x-axis. Make a separate graph for each bio-factor (such as height, ratio of torso to leg length, etc.). Can you see a trend? The more data, the better, and it is a good idea to collect multiple rolls for each person. If you want to be more advanced, you can do statistical analysis on the data to create a predictive model (e.g. predict the roll length based on given bio-data), or to assess the variability of roll length. An advanced math instructor at your school may be able to help you with the statistics. One other note -- there are usually rules for using human subjects in experiments, so be sure to ask your teacher or principle about them!

Hope this helps,

Burr Zimmerman


One simple way to consider and answer your question is to assume the gymnast bends himself into a perfect circle with his circumference equal to his height. Then as he does one roll or revolution he travels a distance equal to his height and the tallest gymnast travels the longest distance.

Carlton Schroeder



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