How Long is Your “Wing Span”?

A Class Experiment
This activity was adapted from one originally written by Cynthia Lanius, Rice University.

Collect the Data:
  1. Together with a partner, measure each other’s height and arm span in centimeters.
  2. Arm Span is measured with the arms held out horizontally. Measure across the person’s back from fingertip to fingertip.
  3. Call out your data for everyone to copy into the table below.

Name of StudentHeight (cm)Arm Span (cm) Name of StudentHeight (cm)Arm Span (cm)

Graph the Data
  1. Take a piece of quadrille paper and draw two axes. Label the horizontal axis “Height (cm)” and the vertical axis “Arm Span (cm).”
  2. On each axis, number the squares to fit the data.
  3. Plot each point.
  4. Label the Graph. Use an area of the graph where there are no points. Write an appropriate title such as “Arm Span of Lee High School Students”
Analyze the Data:
  1. Draw a “best fit” line through the data?
  2. Calculate the slope of the line.
  3. Slope = rise/ run or (y1- y2) / (x1- x2)
  4. Do you think a person’s arm span increases with his height? Use your graph to support your answer.
  5. Use the best fit line to estimate what arm span a person 2 meters tall might have. Is anyone in your class this tall? Who?
  6. How tall is 2 meters in feet and inches?