Education Technology

Reaction Time

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

Here is an adaptation of a classic reaction time activity. Using the TI-Navigator system helps by saving time while compiling the data, plus it allows quick visual access to everyone's results.

Before the Activity

Discuss what we mean by reaction time and its importance (how quickly can a driver react when a ball bounces into the street, etc).
Demonstrate the following technique: Student A places their arm on a desktop with their hand extending over the edge. Student B holds a meter stick just above Student A's hand. Without warning, B drops the meter stick. A must catch the stick. The drop distance is defined as the measurement on the meter stick just above Student A's hand.
Remind students that they are not to receive any warning when the stick drops!

During the Activity

Have students work in pairs. Each student should complete 5 trials. Next, students must discover the reaction time for each trial. Have students use the formula t=4d+90, where d is the distance in centimeters. This will give t as the reaction time in milliseconds. Many interesting activities can be done with this data.
ACTIVITY ONE: Have students enter their best distance (or time) into L1. Force collect this data, and force send it back so that all students have all data. Students can then exit TI-Navigator and investigate the data. What's the mean? The median? The mode? The range? What does a box-and-whiskers plot of this data look like? Use the screen capture feature to monitor this.
ACTIVITY TWO: Send the LearningCheck file "Reaction Time" to students. They should fill out their distance and time for each of their 5 trials. Then collect the data and use the powerpoint to look for trends.