This was a fun and engaging activity that I think the students enjoyed as well. They really seemed to like drawing on the butcher block paper. Most of them were truly shocked at Barbie’s proportions. As we have all heard, her waist was very tiny. But we were surprised to see how short her arms were, how long her legs were, or how large her eyes were in her head! One of the most surprising finding was how small her FEET were. They were only about 5 inches long, which puts our life-sized, 5’7″ Barbie in a size 6 shoe – a CHILD’s 6 that is!
I got all of my inspiration and materials from Kathryn and Fawn. I let the students pick one student in their group to measure for the height comparison. Then the students used proportions to calculate Barbie’s scaled up measurements. After that, they traced the student on the chart paper, then traced life-sized Barbie’s measurements inside the student tracing.
Warning – it took longer for my students to draw on the chart paper than I anticipated, so leave extra time for that. But, I would definitely not skip this part. Calculating proportions isn’t very exciting until they realize they get to draw on giant sheets of butcher block paper! Also, they didn’t realize how small the proportions they calculated actually were until they compared it to their own traced figures. It brought proportionality to life!
Here are pictures of my students working today. I really enjoyed the activity, and I hope they did as well!
Edited: I did not have as much success with one of my classes today as the groups did not work as well together. If I repeat this activity, I will give a grade for it so each member is held accountable and works the entire time. Sigh. Days like these…
I would really like to try this next year! Thanks for yet another great inspiration.
– Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf)
This sounds like fun! I also would like to incorporate this into my teachings next year! How many days/class periods did it take?
Hi Tina. It took a 50 minute class period with HS Geometry students as proportions are a review. I would give it two days if I were to do it in Middle school.
Found you on the MathEdOut podcast. Glad I did. I’m in the middle of this project right now (the previous teacher before me had done it and I thought it was a good idea).
First off, not sure why I didn’t think of putting them in groups. Everyone making their own has been time consuming. Also didn’t think to trace their outline and then put the dolls scaled up drawing inside of that. They filled out a spreadsheet w/ a ton of their measurements and the dolls measurements and what the scaled up version would be.
Drawings have been a bit dismal. They know how tall the doll was supposed to be but when they started drawing from the head down, it ended up being much taller than it was supposed to be (obviously lot of small errors in the lack of precision of some of the measurements).
What else would you change as you reflect on how it went?
Here’s how they ended up. The one in the picture is probably the best one, the others looked a bit wonky.-
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