Five Proportional Human Body Parts Activity
by Robert Schwartzberg

How tall is the other person?
  • Measure your actual, total body height in inches. Do NOT tell the other person!
  • Take a digital photo.
  • Measure each other’s height in the photo in inches. Share each other’s height from the photo.
  • Construct a proportion including your total, actual body height and both heights from the digital photo. Solve for the other person’s actual height. Ask the other person to compare your calculation with the other person’s measured height. How close was your solution?

How long is the other person’s head only using the digital photo?
  • Measure your own head length in the photo in inches. Measure the head length from the bottom of the chin to the top of the forehead. Do NOT tell the other person!
  • Take the measurement of your total body height in inches from the digital photo from #1 above.
  • Construct a proportion including your total digital body heights and your own head length. Solve for the other person’s head length. Ask the other person to compare your calculation with the other person’s measured head length. How close was your solution?
  • How many times longer is one’s total body height than one’s head length?




The head width is used as a guide to shoulder width, which should be about three head widths. All of the other measurements are based on head height.

How many inches is the other person’s elbow to his/her fingertips only using the digital photo?
  • Measure the distance from your elbow to your fingertips on your digital photo. Do NOT tell the other person!
  • Construct a proportion including both persons’ head lengths and your own measurement from your elbow to your fingertips on your digital photo. Solve for the length from the other person’s elbow to his/her fingertip. Ask the other person to compare your calculation with the other person’s measured distance from his/her elbow to his/her fingertips. How close was your solution?
  • How many times longer is one’s elbow to fingertips than one’s head length?
How many inches is the other person’s hips to the floor only using the digital photo?
  • Measure the distance from the top of your hip to the floor in your digital photo. Do NOT tell the other person!
  • Construct a proportion including your measurement of your hip to the floor in inches in your digital photo and the length of both students’ head lengths in the digital photo. Solve in inches for the length of the other person’s top of the hip to the floor. Ask the other person to compare your calculation with the other person’s measured distance from the top of the hip to the floor. How close was your solution?
  • How many times longer is a person’s hip to the floor than that person’s head length?

Compare the length of a person’s total height with the length from fingertips to fingertips only using the digital photo.
  • Measure the distance from your fingertips to your other fingertips in your digital photo. Do NOT tell the other person!
  • Construct a proportion including your measurement from your fingertips to your fingertips in inches in your digital photo and both total body heights from the digital photo. Solve in inches the length of the other person’s fingertips to fingertips.
  • How many times longer is the measurement from fingertips to fingertips than a person’s overall body height?

- The average adult is seven heads tall.
- The top of the hips are four heads high.
- The pelvic region is about one head high.
- Elbow to fingertip is about two head lengths.
- Wrist to fingertip is one head length.



Web References

Leonardo da Vinci studied the proportion of the human body.

Many artists study the proportion of the human body to make figures look real. Artists often make quick sketches or "studies" of models to learn about anatomy and how the human body moves. Learn the basics of figure proportion and create oval action figures!

Leonardo da Vinci also used these ideal measurements when he was sketching the human figure. The drawing by da Vinci entitled 'Vitruvian Man' is based on a model of ideal proportions established by the ancient Roman Vitruvius.

http://www.worsleyschool.net/socialarts/body/proportions.html

http://www.sanfordcorp.com/sanford/consumer/artedventures/create/tech_oval_action_figures.html

Worksheet
Student's results - coming soon.