Quebec Competencies Chart - Avatars and Body Image

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts
Level: Grades 4 to 6
Lesson Length: 60-90 minutes
Lesson Link:

Description: In this lesson students are introduced to the concept of “avatars” and share their experiences creating and playing avatars in video games and virtual worlds. They then create avatars using a program that is intentionally limited in terms of available body types and gender markers, first creating an avatar of their own gender and then of the opposite gender, and then discuss the program and relate it to representations of gender and body image in games and virtual worlds and in other media. Students then create avatars using a much more flexible version of the program and compare that experience to the more limited version. Finally, students use the more versatile program to create avatars that represent how they see themselves and how they would like others to see them online and reflect on the choices that went into creating them.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To exercise critical judgement
  • To use creativity
  • To use information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy
  • Health and Well-Being 

This lesson satisfies the following Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

English Language Arts

To Read and Listen to Literary, Popular and Information-Based Texts

  • To use a response process when reading and listening to literary, popular, and information-based texts
  • To construct her/his own view of the world through reading and listening to literary, popular and information-based texts
  • To construct a profile of self as reader
  • To self-evaluate her/his reading development
  • To construct meaning by applying appropriate reading strategies

To Write Self-expressive, Narrative and Information-based Texts

  • To integrate her/his knowledge of texts into own writing
  • To self-evaluate her/his writing development
  • To follow a process when writing
  • To construct profile of self as writer
  • To use writing as a system for communicating and constructing meaning

To Represent Her/His Literacy in Different Media

  • To apply appropriate strategies for constructing meaning
  • To self-evaluate her/his development as a viewer and producer of media texts
  • To follow a process to respond to media texts
  • To construct her/his own view of the world through the media
  • To follow a production process in order to communicate for specific purposes to a specified audience

To Use Language to Communicate and Learn

  • To use language (talk) to communicate information, experiences and point of view
  • To self-evaluate her/his language development
  • To use language (talk) for learning and thinking
  • To apply her/his knowledge of linguistic structures and features
  • To interact in collaborative group activities in a variety of roles

Visual Arts

To produce media works in the visual arts

  • To use creative ideas inspired by a stimulus for creation of media works
  • To share his/her experience of media creation
  • To use transforming gestures and elements of visual arts language according to the message and the intended viewer
  • To organize the elements that he/she has chosen, depending on the message and the intended viewer
  • To finalize his/her media creation

Physical Education and Health

To develop a healthy, active lifestyle

  • To analyze the impact of some personal lifestyle habits on own health and well-being
  • To assess the results of the plan
  • To develop a plan in order to change some personal lifestyle habits
  • To carry out a plan in order to change some personal lifestyle habits