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The Vitruvian Man

Grade Level: Primary School, Middle School, and High School
Math Investigation Type: Numbers
Website: Visit The Vitruvian Man

Vitruvius wrote, “In the human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centered at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and them apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height …” This investigation will allow students to explore their own proportions and eventually allow them to compare their own data against a database of other classes measurements.


Students created their own version of the Vitruvian Man and related Vitruvius’ theories of proportions to their model.