Activity 3A: Bottle Bodies: Measuring Body Fat

Using various sizes and shapes of plastic bottles to represent the trunk of the human body and a predetermined amount of sand or water to pour into the bottle, students will learn how to calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI) of their Bottle Bodies. Students will measure the mass and volume of the Bottle Bodies and calculate density. They will determine the body shape of the Bottle Bodies by calculating waist to hip ratio. In order to simulate fat (adipose) tissue and/or muscle mass, warm wax or clay will be placed on the Bottle Bodies. Body fat can accumulate in the abdominal region, thighs, gluteals, and upper body. Students will re-weigh, re-measure and re-classify the Bottle Bodies according to changes caused by “fat” and “muscle” accumulation as a result of lifestyle choices. 

  • Measure height, weight, circumference
  • Measure mass and volume; calculate density
  • Use a BMI chart and nomogram
  • Design a “Pear” or “Apple” shape body and determine hip/waist ratio
  • Describe and determine body shape types and somatotypes 



Human body composition, height, weight, circumference, mass, volume, density, body mass index, BMI, nomogram, somatotype


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Activity Code: 
Unit Reference: 
Corpulosity: A Study of Obesity
Lesson Reference: 
Lesson 3: Fat: Who Says? (Measuring Obesity)