Back to School Science: Track How Your Student's Skin Tone Changes Throughout the Year

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Back to School Science

While some students actually enjoy the idea of going back to school, others tend to drag their feet. A fun activity may lend them a jolt of excitement as they consider what the year has to offer. This particular back to school science lesson starts the year off by asking students to take a look at themselves and prepare a time capsule that they will add to throughout the year.

Skin Tone

To complete this lesson plan you will need a digital camera and the ability to print the pictures from the camera. Feel free to print these pictures on regular white bond paper since they are for a science lesson plan and not for decoration. You will also need a large manila envelope for each student since once the project is complete it will be sealed and reopened at the end of the school year.

Talk with students about their Summer. Did they notice any changes their bodies went through? One of the most obvious changes will be in their skin as most of them will probably have some type of tan. Discuss what happens when the skin darkens from the sun.

A skin tan happens when UV rays stimulate the melancytes to create melanin, which rushes to the surface of the skin. The job of the melanin is to absorb the UV rays and protect the skin cells from potential damage from UV rays.

Offer the students these fun facts:

  • Humans lose about 600,000 particles of skin an hour. That’s 1.5 lbs. a year. By the time we are 70, we have lost 105 lbs. of skin.
  • Tanning has its place in history. Years ago, the wealthier classes of people were dedicated to “lily white” skin because the poorer classes were tan from working outside all day. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, white skin became unpopular as the poorer classes moved inside to the factories and the wealthier classes began tanning as a form of displaying how much leisure time they had.

Take a Picture!

Explain to students that some human body lesson plans are going to involve them taking a look at themselves. Ask students to stand up against an empty, neutral area and take a picture of each of the students. Then, print the pictures and hand them out to students to place in their folders. Explain that this is the beginning of their time capsule project. You will take pictures again in the Winter, and oen more time at the end of the year so that you can compare if their skin tones changed.

This post is part of the series: Back to School Science: Build a Time Capsule

This series was created so students could see the changes they go through in one school year. This is a fun back to school science lesson plan series that students and teachers alike will enjoy!

  1. Back to School Lesson: Track How Your Students Change Throughout the Year
  2. Measuring Growth in the Human Skeleton
  3. A Muscular System Lesson
  4. Measuring Human Growth and Development
  5. Measuring Lung Performance in Your Students