Ever wondered what Barbie would look like if she were real? Now you can work with your students to find out!
In order to save you and your students time, I measured various segments of Barbie's actual doll measurements. Students can use their measurements from Parts 1 and 2 of the Human Body Proportion Lab (available on TCP) OR measure their height or foot size to determine the SCALE FACTOR between their body and the doll's body. Using the SF, students will determine Barbie's measurements if 1) she was scaled to their height and 2) she was scaled to their foot.
This is a great way for students to comprehend scale factors and scaling. Once Barbie's measurements are determined you can demonstrate what they look like with a tape measure. For example, if you scale Barbie to an average foot size her waist will turn out to be about 45 cm. Visually this is shocking for students and keeps their attention. I then use this is a great way to discuss body image and the media and how you can spot digital fakes. (Personally I have other presentations on "Body image and the Media for other programs I run at my school. I don't go into full detail but show them examples of male and female models who have been digitally stretched. I show them images of regular models who are 7-8 heads tall then show them actual photos from clothing catalogs where clearly the models are photoshopped. I would be happy to provide these additional items to you free of charge upon request. Because they are copyrighted images I did not want to include them in any type of sale. Email me if you want more information.)
If you prefer, you can complete this lab with a GI Joe or other male action figure. (In my experience it is helpful to mention dolls for both genders. Most are happy to work with Barbie because it seems funnier!)
Part 4 of this Proportion Lab consists of a variety of follow up questions that students would answer. This could be done as a formal lab report or a more formal "exit slip" of what they learned.
I have completed this project for the last 10 years and every year the kids tell me it is one of their favorite activities and that they learned a lot. This year completed the the lab myself with Barbie clip art and actually created a life-sized printed version of Barbie in an over-sized Barbie box in the hallway. It made for a shocking display that kept the kids talking for weeks. It also caught the eye of administrators and fellow teachers.
Ms. Burrows - Is Barbie Realistic? - Body Proportions Lab Part 3 & 4
by Dana Burrows
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License