Hair care: Introduction (ages 11 - 13)

             Good Skin Knowledge

Skin health

Subtopic: Introduction to hair care
Age group: 11-13
Time: 45 min


  • State what a follicle is
  • Provide basic and brief explanation of hair growth
  • Identify that round follicles produce straight hair and oval follicles produce curly hair
  • State that melanin is what gives skin color



1.    During Introduction to New Material, Facilitator will check for students’ understanding after completing Plant vs. Hair worksheet.

2.    During Guided Practice, Facilitator will assess if students understand new material by having them identify the shape of their follicles based on hair type, and amount of melanin they have based on hair color.

3.    During Independent Practice, Facilitator will walk around and assess students’ work to see if they are able to correctly draw the images according to the description and whether additional assistance is needed to grasp the material.


3 minutes

1.    Facilitator asks students, “Have you ever wondered why we have different hair? We know that the type of hair we have comes from our parents, but why? Why is your hair straight or curly? Why does one person have blonde hair and another person brown? Can anyone guess?”
       a. Facilitator does not have to ask all the questions at once.
       b. If students are unresponsive, Facilitator can move on by saying, “Well, we are going to learn today! There is science behind it all.”

Introduction to new material

20 minutes
: Plant vs. Hair worksheet, Different Hair handout, pencils

1.    Facilitator explains that s/he wants to grow a plant. What are some things s/he will need? (seed, water, flower pot, dirt/soil)
       a. As students respond, Facilitator should ask what each item is used for.
       b. If students are unresponsive or don’t know, Facilitator can ask these questions
one-by-one to get students involved:
           i.    What do plants come from? What do they start as? Do they start as flowers or
something smaller? (seeds)
           ii.    What do the seeds need to grow in? (dirt/soil)
           iii.    What do I need to put the seed and dirt in if I want to grow the plant inside the house? (flower pot)
           iv.    What do I need to feed the plant? (water)
           v.    What absorbs the water to help feed the plant? (roots)

2.    Facilitator says, “Our hair grows in a very similar way.”

3.    Facilitator then passes out Plant vs. Hair worksheet and explains:
       a. On this handout, I want you to think about which parts of the plant work like the parts of the hair. You can put a number next to the ones that you think work the same. For example, if you think the follicle works the same way as the seed, then you would write a “1” next to “follicle” and “seed”.
       b. Facilitator should allow 2-3 minutes for this part of the activity.

4.    After students complete activity or time is up, Facilitator goes over worksheet, calling on students to see how they answered.
      a. Seed - Protein
          i.    Hair begins growing from the root, which is made up of protein, just like a plant grows from a seed and makes roots.
      b. Roots - Blood vessels
          i.    Blood from vessels in your scalp feed the root to help it grow, like water feeds a seed.
      c. Dirt/Soil g Skin
          i.    Just like a plant grows by getting pushed out of the dirt or ground, hair grows and gets pushed through your skin.
      d. Follicle - Flower pot
          i.    The follicle is the little pocket that the hair grows out of, just like a flower pot.
      e. Plant - Hair
          i.    Just like a plant, hair is what is growing!
          ii.    The biggest difference is that plants are alive, and by the time your hair pushes out of your head, it’s dead! That’s why it doesn’t hurt to cut your hair, because it’s all dead cells.

5.    Then Facilitator says, “Now that we know how hair grows, let’s find out why we all have different hair.”

6.    Facilitator hands out Different Hair handout.

7.    Facilitator explains that we have different hair because we are all different! Our bodies function in a certain way and science determines what type of hair we have.

8.    Facilitator asks students if they remember what a follicle is and tells them they can look at their handout.
      a. If students are unresponsive, Facilitator reminds students that a follicle is like the flower pot, the pocket in which the hair grows.

9.    Facilitator explains that hair type depends on how the follicle is shaped. If the follicle is round, or circular, the hair is straight. The more oval, the curlier the hair.

10.    Facilitator then explains that hair color comes from melanin (students should repeat word), the same stuff that gives our skin color. The more melanin, the darker the hair. That’s why when adults get older, they get grey hair—because their bodies make less melanin, creating lighter hair.

11.    Facilitator checks for questions.

Guided practice

3-5 minutes

1.    Facilitator says, “I have (straight/curly) hair, which means I have (round/oval) follicles.  My hair is (color) which means I have (a lot/little amount) of melanin.”
       a. If hair is not dark or light, but medium shade, Facilitator can say they have a medium amount of melanin so kids have basic understanding of how melanin works—that it’s not only extremes.

2.    Then Facilitator asks one to three students what type of follicles and amount of melanin they have.

Independent practice

10-15 minutes
: What Do I Look Like? worksheet, coloring utensils

1.    Facilitator will explain they are now going to do an activity.

2.    Facilitator hands out What Do I Look Like? worksheet and crayons (either to share or for each student to use depending on supplies available) to draw and color.

3.    Facilitator explains the directions:
       a. On your paper there are four different descriptions. You need to draw the person according to the description.
           i.    If it says the person has oval follicles, you draw curly hair. If it says round follicles, you draw curly hair.
           ii.    You will also see the word melanin and a number next to it. Remember we said the more melanin hair has, the darker it is? Well, you have a scale on your sheet from one to ten.    These numbers represent the amount of melanin, so the lower the  number, the less melanin. Someone with melanin 1 might have white hair.
Someone with melanin 3 might have blonde hair, and someone with melanin 10 might have black hair. That’s how you know what color to make the person’s hair!
       b. Facilitator explains, “The last picture you draw is of yourself! Next to the place that says “follicle,” you circle “round” or “oval” depending on if you have straight or curly hair. And then next to the word “melanin,” you put a number depending on how dark or light you think your hair is. Then you can draw a picture of yourself.

4.    During activity, Facilitator walks around to see if students understand the material and checks for questions or additional assistance.


2-3 minutes (varies)

1.    While students finish drawing, Facilitator asks out loud, “So what is a follicle?” “What does melanin do?” “If I have curly hair, what kind of follicle do I have?” etc.

                AAD Logo 
Copyright © 2014 American Academy of Dermatology. All rights reserved.

Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission.


Program made possible
through a grant from Stiefel, a GSK company.