Materials: 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.