Firstly, to clear up any confusion Body suits are very thin, all in one work suits that can be easily purchased from a pound shop or DIY store. The purpose of these suits are to protect clothing when decorating. However, they can also be used in weird and wonderful ways in the classroom! Here are some suggested ways they can be used with your classes…
I was at a local Teach Meet when David McDermott @hextatexEDU gave me a body suit and said to try it out in my classroom! I thought this was a strange novelty item that couldn’t be used other than a bit of fun. I was wrong. I have since used the body suits in lots of interesting and effective ways! Here are some examples they can be used in different subjects. Obviously care must be taken to ensure that students use the body suits sensibly and in an appropriate manner but in my experience I’ve never had any students label places on body parts that they shouldn’t!
Students studying the Black Death in History were looking at the various symptoms a victim would experience. One activity is to label the symptoms of the Black Death onto someone wearing the body suit and add the symptoms onto the relevant parts of the body for example, a post it or clipping with Buboes written on will be placed on the neck or armpit where the swellings would actually physically appear. Another idea, is to label different parts of the body when looking at different punishments in History. Flogging on the back, hand chopped off for stealing, branding on body parts etc. In History we have studied many well known historical figures. Year 8 were studying different interpretations of Henry VIII and the person wearing the body suit represented Henry. All the information attached to the body suits were about his characteristics and how people have interpreted him. There are lots of possibilities too if students are studying Medicine Through Time, even at GCSE it can be a useful revision activity!
In both PE and Science students learn about different elements of the body. In PE there are often studies about muscle types and movement so again, the body suit can help students to visualise and understand these by labelling the different muscles/features on the body. Studying health and fitness is very cross curricular studied in Science, PE and PSHE. The example below is of two students; one person represents a healthy person and the other is unhealthy. Students worked together in groups to label a healthy and unhealthy person with suggestions such as good diet vs bad diet, exercise vs lack of exercise and so on.
In languages students will often learn the vocabulary for the different parts of the body. These body parts can labelled on the body suits. I have found this activity really helps make the key words memorable for students as they can link and associate the keywords with different parts of the body.
Similar to the way students wore the body suits and took on the role of Henry VIII this can be done when exploring characters in fiction. Again, the person wearing the suit will take on the character and the information attached can be background information, description and opinions of the character.
Racism has been a topic that has been covered as part of PSHE and this example is where students labelled the body with different reasons why somebody could be discriminated against. Students came up with very interesting responses from skin colour, hair colour, height, age, weight etc. Body suits work well when looking at identity or qualities. A student did ask me if they could use the body suits when the class were learning about puberty, to avoid any embarrassing situations we kept to paper templates for that topic!
If for any reason you think this may not work with your classes a good alternative are the paper people templates. All the same ideas can be applied but written onto the template instead.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you’ve been inspired by any of these ideas using the body suits I’d love to hear from you to find out how you’ve taken them / adapted or remixed them and used them in your classroom. I would be very interested for any feedback or examples how these suits can be used in other ways or in other subjects! Please feel free to follow my blog and leave comments below or why not just drop me a message on Twitter .