Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Try This TOPS Idea!

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Try This TOPS Idea!

Article excerpt


To verify an artist's "ideal" body proportions by accurately measuring with a meter stick or tape.


Photocopy the lab above for each student or team. Step 3. Kids know height, but spans and fathoms may need explanation. Have students stretch arms to the sides; this is a fathom. Then spread thumbs and little fingers wide; this is a span. The numerical relationships, which are classical averages, work best if students stretch when making their measurements.

Students should work in pairs to make measuring easier. Younger kids may need to make pencil marks on a wall (protect with paper), and measure those.


2. Students who are capable should express measuring uncertainty to the nearest tenth cm. Otherwise round to the nearest whole cm. A sample calculation:

height = 135.2 cm

fathom = 131.1 cm

span = 17.0 cm

8 spans = 8 x 17.0 = 136.0 cm

136.0cm [approximately equal to] 131.1 cm [approximately equal to] 135.2cm


Q: Is the peoplet in this activity proportional to Leonardo da Vinci's equation? Explain.

A: Yes. The peoplet's fathom and height both extend across a square that measures 8 spans on each side. …

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