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Measuring and Protecting Skin

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.


  • Wrap the entire body of one or more students in wax paper. Then spread the paper out and measure its area. Compare the result to the estimate using the area of one arm only. 
  • Have students calculate the area covered by a t-shirt, shorts, bathing suit, sweatshirts, or other clothing. Challenge them to calculate how much skin is exposed when they wear short sleeves and shorts instead of long sleeves and trousers. 
  • Have students read about ozone depletion and the role of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) on page 3 of the Explorations mini-magazine for this unit. Explain that ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere is allowing more UV radiation to reach Earth’s surface, which has increased the risk for damage to skin and eyes (particularly the development of cataracts). Ask students, What else can you find out about the ozone layer? and What is being done to protect this vital part of the atmosphere?

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education