Barbie
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by Felix Gabathuler
| 11 Questions
Back in the 1970's - early 2000's, the Barbie doll was a toy that all the girls wanted to have! Not only that, they also wanted to BE Barbie. She became known as the vision of a perfect woman. Toy manufacturers created "life-like" dolls that were meant to model the way a woman should look. It became increasingly obvious that very few women were proportionally equivalent to that of a Barbie, which made a lot of fans upset. Today, you are going to research how far off the toy makers actually were by measuring not only a Barbie's dimensions, but also those of other popular human-like toys.
Is this project, you will measure various dimensions of a male, female, and baby doll's body and scale them proportionally to average human measurements. Then you will analyze and describe the enlargements, as well as explore the commercial and social implications of the dolls' designs.

But first, watch the first 60 seconds of the following video on scale factors to get a better idea of what's to come.
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Briefly sum up what a scale factor is and how you think it will relate to your task.
First, find three dolls or action figures (one male, one female, one baby) and measure various attributes of their bodies using a ruler or tape measure. You should insert your data into a chart that has been shared with you via Google sheets.

Once you have measured the dimensions needed below, calculate an appropriate scale factor to enlarge a certain dimension to a certain size. With your partners, conduct some research to determine what the average measurements of a woman are. Using these measurements and those of your barbie, create a scale factor to determine the other enlarged measurements. You will perform this process several times for each figure. Write down all of your findings in the chart that has been shared with you below.

Use the Sheet labeled Big Barbie to document the Barbie's measurements, research the dimensions of an average woman, create a scale factor, and then calculate barbie's new dimensions if she were to be human size.

**Important! Use the same scale factor to proportionally increase the size of each toy.

You should be using the sheet labeled Barbie Dimensions, as seen below:
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Take a screenshot of your completed Barbie spreadsheet and submit it here. Attach the picture to submit.
Now complete the same measurements for a Male Toy. You should be using the Male Toy Spreadsheet that looks like the one below:
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Take a screenshot of your completed Man Toy spreadsheet and submit it here.
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Take a screenshot of your completed Baby Toy spreadsheet and submit it here.
Lastly, calculate the measurements of a baby doll on the spreadsheet, as seen below, and record your findings. You want to figure out what the baby doll's dimensions would be if it stayed proportional after becoming a full size adult.
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What are your initial impressions as you look at your results? Does any of the data from the Barbie, Man Toy, or Baby Toy measurements strike you as odd?
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What would the figures look like if they were real people? Describe one of the toy's new dimensions and appearance using as much detail as possible. Draw a sketch using appropriate dimensions of one of your life size toys if that's easier (take a picture and attach below if you draw a picture).
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Write one direct variation equation to describe your scale factor for both the Barbie and the Man Toy. Label your variables.
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Why do you think the figures are designed with such measurements? Do these designs have an impact on how we view ourselves? Be specific in your explaining by using your data.
For Part Two, an American company wants to start producing tiny action figures. It's your job, as part of the research and design team, to create a Tiny Toy that will be brought to life using a 3-D printer. Because plastic costs so much, your action figure has to have a volume of less than 6 cubic inches. Access the fourth tab of the Barbie Spreadsheet titled "Tiny Barbie" to record your measurements. You can use either your originial Barbie, Male Toy, or Baby Toy measurements. You will need to come up with a new scale factor to reduce the dimensions of your toy.
The tiny action figure's measurements should be recorded in millimeters. Use the "Tiny Barbie" spreadsheet to record your data.
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Take a screenshot of your completed Tiny Toy spreadsheet and submit it here.
Before moving on, you must create an account on the following website: