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Tanning (ages 11 - 13)

Good Skin Knowledge lesson plan

Time: 45 min


  Students will be able to:

  • Learn why tanning beds are dangerous

  • Learn alternatives to tanning beds

  • Recognize the difference between UVA and UVB rays


*If resources to play video are unavailable. Provide link to students for them to watch at home 


  • At the end of the Introduction to New Material, check for questions.

  • During Guided Practice, assess students’ discussions from questions on handout.

  • During Guided Practice, assess class discussion regarding questions from handout as well as additional follow-up questions.

  • During Closing, ask review questions to see if students grasped main points from lesson.


5-7 minutes

  • Explain that today they are going to talk about tanning—in the sun and especially in tanning beds.

  • Ask if anyone can tell him/her about tanning in the sun or at the tanning beds. If students are unresponsive, move on to next question.

  • Ask, “Why do people/teenagers go tanning?” If students are unresponsive, ask students direct questions such as: Do you think it’s because of celebrities? Does it have to do with TV and movies? With beauty? What others think? 

  • Explain it is really common for teenagers to want to get tan to look “beautiful”. There is an idea that having paler skin isn’t beautiful, but that’s not true at all. Beauty is not about skin; plus, tanning is very dangerous for skin. 

Introduction to new material

10-12 minutes 


  • Distribute Tanning Truths handout and read through it as a class with students taking turns to read.

  • Play “Self-tanner: How to apply” YouTube video. 

  • Check for questions 

Guided practice

20-25 minutes

Materials: Tanning Truths handout 

  • Students break into pairs/small groups and answer discussion questions from Tanning Truths handout.

  • Assesses students’ discussion and asks questions to help some students’ come up with ideas. 

  • After about 10 minutes, class discusses questions as a group. When going over Question 2 (What are some ways to protect their skin from the sun’s UV rays?) Be sure to mention that it is important to use a board-spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 30. They should apply sunscreen everyday they are going to be outside.

  • Share that in some parts of the world, having pale skin is considered beautiful, so people use bleaching creams and washes, or have treatments to bleach their skin. This makes their skin lighter and makes them feel “beautiful” to society. What do you think?

  • If students are unresponsive, ask more pointed questions like: Do you think it’s safe? Do you think it’s smart? Would you do it?

  • Ask how this is any different from tanning. Although wanting to be paler, they are still using dangerous methods to change the color of their skin. 


5 minutes

Ask review questions:

  • What are some of the risks of tanning?

  • What is a safer alternative to tanning?

  • What is the best way to protect your skin?

  • What SPF should you use?

  • What was the most interesting thing you learned today?