Bears in Space

Who says six sigma is boring! Believe me, it is exciting!
In the Bears in Space six sigma training game, the catapult is made from two popsicle sticks and two elastic bands (or rubber bands, if you prefer). An elastic is wound firmly around the end of one of the sticks. The other popsicle stick is placed on top of the first and the second elastic wraps the two sticks tightly together at the other end. A small dowel or pen is slid in between the two sticks to create a fulcrum. If attached properly, you should have a spring loaded catapult. After gingerly placing a gummy bear on the end of the popsicle stick, you can bend down the stick and let it go, sending the gummy bear soaring through the air.The goal is to measure the distance that your gummy bear travels, the “Y” output, and determine which “X” or inputs contribute the most.

In addition to all the variability created by joining two sticks together with an elastic band, the catapult itself is placed on an incline. The position on the incline can be measured and adjusted.

One of the inputs to be evaluated is the colour of the the gummy bears. Do green ones fly further than red ones? At the beginning the red and green bears are to be launched in groups. As the participants improve their skill with the catapult, the colour launched last tends to travel further. Naturally a discussion about the importance of randomization ensues.

Download the full instructions below including identifying sources of variation, blocking, adjusting the fulcrum and the launch angle and, of course, analyzing all the data.
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This appears to be a fun lean six sigma training game with plenty of opportunity to generate lots of data. And the gummy bears are a nice touch. Just don’t eat them after shooting them all over your dirty shop floor!