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Skin Regions Lesson Plan

By Kathy Foust

Students may find themselves surprised at the various regions of the skin and how they respond to stimulus such as sunlight and various types of burns. Students can use their own individual skin types to further understand the skin regions.

What are Skin Regions?

Before jumping in, please review the first two lessons in the series (see below). Those lesson plans provide the basic information that students need in order to be able to understand the elements of this lesson plan that explores the skin regions. After reviewing those lesson plans introduce students to the skin regions as listed below.

  • Epidermis
  • Dermis

Explain to students that the epidermis is the top layer of the skin. This layer is the only layer that is able to regenerate itself, and it does so constantly. As the cells regenerate and reach the surface, they flatten as they become hardened.

The dermis is the layer directly below the epidermis and it contains fibrous tissue and collagen that allows this area to stretch over muscles. As we age, this layer loses some of its elasticity, causing skin to wrinkle and sag.

Once students understand the basic idea of what these two regions of the skin are and how they work, move on to the next section of this Skin Lesson Plan in order to provide a more in depth understanding of how these layers each function.

Damaging the Skin Regions

Ask students to consider if they have ever been burnt or cut deeply. Have they ever thought that a paper cut hurt them worse than a cut they may have had to get stitches for? Explain to students that the area with the most sensory receptors is found in the fingertips. Since a paper cut is normally found on the fingertips, it stands to reason that it would hurt more than a deeper cut that goes beyond those sensory receptors. To teach student more about how the skin responds to damage, discuss the burns listed below. Note that some students may have taken first aid courses and already be aware of some of the facts listed below.

  • First Degree Burns: These are the burns that are found on the top layer of the skin, such as mild sunburns. The skin usually turns pink or red and may become inflamed as a result of the burn and will be very sensitive to outside stimuli.
  • Second Degree Burns: These types of burns have gone beyond the first layer of the skin and will result in a blistering of the skin. Sunburns may often result in these types of burns.
  • Third Degree Burns: A third degree burn is the deepest of burns. It goes beyond the two regions of the skin and into the Subcutaneous layer that lies below the dermis. Third degree burns cause such nerve damage that they may actually be painless.

After students review the information on burns, ask then what they think the most dangerous aspect of a burn is. Then, explain to them that burns can often be misleading and are not static, meaning they can get worse over time. To reinforce this information, ask students to consider a sunburn they may have gotten over the summer that became blistered the next day.

Remind student that the skin is the bodies first defense against outside stimuli. A burn is an opening in the skin and allows bacteria and other possible pollutants to enter the body. That's why the scariest part of a burn is the infection it makes possible. Use this information to ask students if they have ever seen a correlation between some type of a burn or cut being followed by a sudden illness.

After going over this lesson plan with your students, they should have an idea of what the regions of the skin are as well as why they exist. They are now ready to move on to the next skin lesson plan in this series.