"The Skinny on Skin," pg. 6
It’s “all around us,” but do we know what it is? Here’s the m.o. (of course, that’s modus operandi, or method of operating) on makeovers, the facts on function, and the news on nerves, accompanied by a sidebar on TV makeovers (pg. 8), the inside story on hair and nails (pg. 10), and advice from a dermatologist (pg. 11).
Vocabulary, Cause and Effect.
"Skin to Skin: The Science of Touch," pg. 12
Receptors in the skin register pressure, heat, cold, and pain. Our sense of touch is vital to survival. Sidebars explore how the blind read Braille (pg. 14) and the difference between itching and tickling (pg. 15).
Cause and Effect, Inductive Reasoning
"Tactile Illusions " (Activity to Discover), pg. 16
Try these five experiments with your friends to trick the sense of touch.
Following Directions, Drawing Conclusions
"Second Skin," pg. 17
Skin grafts and artificial skin can save the lives of disease and burn victims. A sidebar (pg. 19) describes possible future uses of electronic skin.
Cause and Effect, Applications
"When Acne Attacks," pg. 20
What causes acne, what health habits can help prevent it, and what myths need to be busted? Present treatments include over-the-counter and prescription medications, while future treatments may involve lasers. A sidebar (pg. 23) defines other common skin disorders.
Cause and Effect, Applications
"Is It Possible to Get a Healthy Tan?," pg. 24
Tanned skin is damaged skin, so no tan is safe, unless you opt for the paint-on variety (sidebar, pg. 27). A second sidebar (pg. 28) looks at research studies that might someday lead to the development of a safe tanning method.
Process Analysis, Interpreting Data
"Making Morphs"(Brain Strain), pg. 29
How many colors does Suzy need to color the skin of her lizardlike morph?
Following Directions, Inductive Reasoning
"The Color of Skin," pg. 30
This story of an Indian girl’s encounter with American racial diversity is a tale of youthful innocence and integrity.
"Tattoos: Fad, Fashion, or Folly?," pg. 34
Far from a modern fad, tattooing is more than 35,000 years old. Are you a candidate for a tattoo (sidebar, pg. 37), or is a temporary piece of henna art more your style (sidebar, pg. 36)?
Deductive Reasoning, Decision Making
"A Tattoo is Forever — or Maybe Not!" (Activity to Discover), pg. 39
Here’s a method for creating your own temporary tattoos.
"What’s Up" and "Planet Watch," pg. 40
Get up early to watch the Eta Aquarid meteor shower that peaks on May 5. On other May mornings, look for Mercury and Mars. In the evenings, see Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Following Directions, Observation
"Do the Moon Phase!" (You Can Do Astronomy), pg. 42
Use simple materials to model the phases of the moon.
Following Directions, Making Inferences
"Skin That Can Make Your Skin Crawl," pg. 45
Skin colors, patterns, and secretions — even natural sunscreens! — help animals survive. Here are just a few of the skin-sational adaptations that have evolved.
Making Inferences, Process Analysis
- What are the functions of skin? Make a list of the jobs skin performs and then add to your list as you read this issue.
- If you could design a skin for a new form of human, how would you change either its structures or its functions? Would you eliminate freckles, for example, or make it photosynthetic? What about hair and fingernails? Make a list of skin characteristics you would change and state your reasons why.
Pg. 6 – "The Skinny on Skin"
- Talk It Over:
- Look at the picture on pg. 9. Where is each of the labeled structures located, and what function does it perform?
- Why is skin considered an organ? What other organs do you know about, and how do they compare with skin?
- Language Arts: Make a list of technical and scientific terms used in this article. Look up any prefixes and suffixes to determine their meanings, and then research the root words contained in the terms. Make diagrams of “word families,” or words that share the same roots (for example, epidermis, pachyderm, and dermatologist). Organize diagrams into a bulletin board display.
- Visual Arts: Reread the sidebar (pg. 10). Then draw pictures similar to the one on pg. 9 to show the parts and functions of hair and nails.
- Mathematics: Experts estimate that the total surface area of an adult’s skin ranges between (on the average) 1.6 square meters for women and 1.8 square meters for men. A 1-inch square of skin (6.25 square centimeters) contains 650 sweat glands. Assuming that all areas of the skin have the same number of sweat glands, how many sweat glands does an average woman or man have? [Answer: Woman: 1.6 m2 = 16,000 cm2; (16,000 cm2 ÷ 6.25) x 650 = 1,664,000. Man: 1,872,000]
- Student Assessment:
- You have a friend who wants several of the skin treatments described in the sidebar on page 8. Your friend has no disease or injury, but simply wants an altered appearance. Write an essay (or deliver a speech) to persuade your friend to think twice before committing to any of the procedures. Use information and insights derived from the article to support your arguments.
- You are a talk show host. This week, you have a series of special guests. They are parts of skin (e.g., a hair follicle, a sebaceous gland, or the dermis layer). Interview one of your “guests,” writing your interview in a question-and-answer format.
- Talk It Over:
- In what ways is a tan a good thing? In what ways is it bad? Why do some people choose to ignore medical advice about tanning?
- What does the future hold for tanning? Could fashion change and make tanning undesirable? Explain the reasons for your answer.
- History: In your library and on the Internet, research how the definition of beauty has varied across time and cultures. Consider not only obvious changes in hair and clothing styles, but also changing tastes in skin tone, facial features, body shape, weight, and so on. Print or draw pictures to create a bulletin board display or scrapbook.
- Visual Arts: Begin a schoolwide poster campaign to alert students, teachers, staff, and parents to the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer. Encourage students to create motivational posters that are simple, informative, and eye-catching. Post their efforts around the school.
- Earth and Physical Sciences: In your library and on the Internet, gather information on the wavelengths, frequency, and penetrating powers of the three kinds of ultraviolet rays. Find out their source and their geographic distribution on Earth’s surface. Make charts and diagrams to include with a written report of your findings.
- Student Assessment:
- In a brief informational essay, explain how sunlight causes skin to darken. Describe the cellular process and make clear what biological function the tanning process serves.
- Your pale-skinned friend wants to visit a tanning parlor in order to “look better” for a party or dance. Prepare and deliver a speech to persuade your friend to reconsider.
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?"Small-Group Collaborative Project: Break the class into five groups and assign each group a topic, such as dog breeds, dogs in U.S. history, dogs in world history, dog heroes, or dogs with jobs. Challenge each group to research the assigned topic and prepare an audiovisual presentation for the class. Break the class into teams of three students each. Assign to each team a specific geographic area (e.g., Saharan Africa or the Pacific Rim) or cultural group (e.g., Native Americans or Pacific Islanders). Have each team prepare a presentation on the techniques of skin decoration historically popular in their assigned culture or region. Presentations should include a visual element.
"All the beauty of the world, is but skin deep." (Ogden Nash)Community Connection: Invite a local dermatologist to speak to the class about his or her work. Ask about their patients’ most popular requests, the most common skin diseases, and future trends in the science and medicine of skin care.
"I’ll not shed her blood, nor scar that whiter skin of hers than snow."Large-Group Class Project: Organize two bulletin boards to display pictures of students with their pets. On one board, post tributes that students write to their pets. On the other, ask students to post messages written from the pet’s point of view.
"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."Individual Project: Write a short story inspired by this quote. Create characters who are the “four little children” as grownups. Portray a time in which their parent’s (the speaker’s) dream has come true.
Sources of quotes:
1. The Old Testament of the Bible (Jeremiah 13.23)
2. Ralph Venning, from Orthodoxe Paradoxes, 1650 (and you thought it was Shakespeare)
3. Okay, this one is Shakespeare, from Othello.
4. Martin Luther King, Jr., from his famous speech in Washington, D.C., in 1963