Second and last day at IM Flash. We spent most of the day in the computer lab doing statistical stuff.
We did get to build helicopters, little paper ones, that was fun. First round we were given very little instructions on how to build them, and then we dropped them off a 2-story staircase in the main hall. they even blocked off the area so that workers wouldn’t interfere with our work.
We timed their falls, did 3 trials and then went back to the computer lab and charted our results on this stats program they use there. Made pretty graphs and discussed the mean, median, mode, range and standard deviation.
The second round, we were given a template and specific instructions on how to build the helicopters, dropped them each 3 times and charted their times. Amazingly (not really) the times for these were a lot closer. what we didn’t expect, and probably should have, was that the second round helicopters all landed in almost exactly the same place. The first round ones landed all over the place, one even on the 1 landing of the staircase.
This all led into a discussion about the causes of variation and how they use the stats to refine their production to minimize these variations.
All in all, it was quite interesting and we even had some fun doing it. And we even got some IM Flash SWAG: shirt, computer bag, pens, keychain flashlight and even a teeny, tiny IM Flash chapstick.
I didn’t get any pictures of the first round of drops because they don’t allow any photography in the facility except for in specific areas. One of the higher-ups showed up for the second drop, took a couple pictures so I asked him and he said it was ok for me to take them there also.