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Acne: Media and retouching (ages 8-10)

Good Skin Knowledge lesson plan

Time: 50 min


Students will be able to:

  • Recognize that the skin seen in magazine ads are not realistic

  • Discuss how these images can affect self-esteem

  • Reflect on how retouching affects them and their peers



  1. Assess students’ discussion during Introduction to New Material, Guided Practice and Closing.

  2. Assess if students were able to grasp the differences in the Before and After images during Guided Practice.


3 minutes

  1. Ask students, “Who likes to read or look at magazines?”

  2. Ask students what they think of the models in the magazines—do they have nice skin?

  3. Explain that today we are going to find out the secret to their beautiful skin.

Introduction to new material

12 minutes

  • Explain that the group will watch the YouTube video that will reveal one of the secrets to the models’ beautiful skin. After the video, they will share their reactions to the video with the person next to them.

  • Play “Dodge and Burn” YouTube video.

  • After video, give the students a couple minutes to talk about video. After 2-3 minutes, ask students for their reactions and ask follow-up questions. Here are some example follow-up questions:

    • What did you think of the “before” and “after” shot of the woman

    • Did you know there was so much retouching done for magazine photos?

    • Has your idea of what you see in magazines changed at all?

  • Facilitator should mention that this is one of many techniques used to create “flawless” skin.

Guided practice

15-20 minutes

Materials: Paper, pencils

  • Play video again and ask students to really pay attention to all the different ways they changed the image.

  • Discuss video with students.

    • Has it affected them?

      • Self-esteem?

      • Idea of what’s real?

      • Kids with acne?

    • What is beauty? What makes someone beautiful? Is it only the stuff we see? Are there different ideas about what is beautiful?

    • Why do you think they retouch the models so much?

  • Explain that in the next few years, many of them will experience pimples because their bodies are going to start changing. They might get frustrated because they will see models in the magazines with flawless skin, but it’s not reality. Those models also had to go through teen years and acne, and many of them have acne scars and spots to prove it—they just get retouched.

Independent practice

10 minutes

Materials: This Is How worksheet, pencils

  • Distribute This Is How handout and explains they are going to take a few minutes to fill this out independently. Read statements out loud to them before they begin.

    • Explain that for “I am beautiful,” it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or girl. The term “beautiful” can be used for any gender.


5 minutes

Materials: None

  • Ask students what they learned today. Has their perspective changed on what they see in magazines?

  • Reinforce that although models in magazines may seem to have flawless skin, it is just because of retouching. We may think of “perfect” skin as skin without any scars or flaws, but perfect skin in the skin you are in because it’s yours and it’s unique.