Modeling a Bouncing Ball with Exponential Functions and Infinite Series

We modify a traditional bouncing ball activity for introducing exponential functions by modeling the time between bounces instead of the bounce heights. As a consequence, we can also model the total time of bouncing using an infinite geometric series.


Students can explore exponential functions by modeling the time between a ball's bounces and then can model the total bounce time using geometric series.

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Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12
  • BoxGeorge E. P. and Norman R. Draper. 1987. Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces. New York: Wiley.

  • EricksonTim and Bryan Cooley. 2007. “Bouncing Balls and Energy Loss.” In Den of Inquiry: Data-Rich Labs for Introductory PhysicsVolume 2 p. 147. Oakland, CA: eeps Media.

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  • FinzerWilliam. 2019. Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP). Concord, MA: The Concord Consortium.


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