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The Wonders of Skin: Looking Good, Being Healthy (Grades 3-5)  

Skin Health Education Curriculum
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2014 URL: Print Guide

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The Wonders of Skin


About The Wonders of Skin Curriculum

For over a decade, The Wonders of Skin has helped educators teach students in Grades K-12 critical skills and information about maintaining skin health. A vital component of comprehensive school-based health education, the program has, to date, provided curriculum, professional development, consultation, technical assistance, and take-home materials to more than 5,500 teachers, school nurses, counselors and administrators in over 3,000 public schools reaching more than 5 million students in 22 states and the District of Columbia.


Developed by The New York Academy of Medicine’s Office of School Health Programs in partnership with the American Skin Association, the curriculum was pilot-tested in the New York City public schools in 1999.  A year later, an outcome evaluation by Teachers College, Columbia University offered compelling evidence of its effectiveness and led the NYC Deparment of Education to designate The Wonders of Skin as an approved curriculum for use in the city’s schools.


Presentation of the prestigious Gold Triangle Award in 2001 by the American Academy of Dermatology, the largest and most influential organization representing the nation’s dermatologists, paved the way to disseminate the program nationally. The New York Academy of Medicine undertook a major review and updated the curriculum in 2010 with the help of noted dermatologists from the American Skin Association’s Education Council and Medical Advisory Committee. Today, The Wonders of Skin continues to improve young people’s knowledge, beliefs and behaviors relating to skin health in urban, rural and suburban school districts and communities throughout the United States.


This website provides six lessons and relevant resources designed for those teaching upper elementary aged students (Grades 3-5).



The Wonders of Skin: Looking Good, Being Healthy


Curriculum at a Glance




Health Domain


Lesson 1:

The Body's Largest Organ

Mini Lecture, Game

Structure and Function of the Skin

Personal Health

Critical Thinking

Lesson 2:

Standing in Someone Else's Shoes

Demonstration Discussion, Role Playing

Attitudes About Skin and Skin Health

Mental and Emotional Health

Critical Thinking,


Lesson 3: Being Skin Savvy

Think/Pair/ Share, Journals, Habits Checklist and Goal Worksheet

Attitudes About Skin and Skin Health; Skin Care and Prevention of Skin Problems

Mental and Emotional Health; Disease Prevention

Communication, Goal-Setting

Lesson 4:

Skin Disorders

Discussion, Small Group Reports

Treatment of Skin Diseases and Disorders

Disease Prevention and Control

Obtaining Help

Lesson 5:

First Aid for Skin

Discussion Scenarios

Caring For Skin Injuries

Injury Prevention

Decision-Making, Obtaining Help

Lesson 6:

Outsmart the Sun

Knowledge amd Behavior Self- assessments, Creative Writing

Sun Safety

Injury Prevention

Analysis of Influences, Advocacy


Why Teach Skin Health?

There are many compelling reasons to teach about skin health:

  • The skin is the body’s largest organ and plays an important role in protecting the body from germs and disease. Skin is essential for
    life, as important as the heart and lungs.
  • There is increasing evidence that youth exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight are developing skin cancer later in life. Today, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States and its incidence continues to rise every year.
  • Students’ appearance is a major concern to them, especially during the middle and high school years. Skin health is an important contributor to looking good and being healthy, as indicated in the title of the curriculum. 
  • Teaching about skin health provides an opportunity to help students understand factors influencing skin health and to prevent or reduce skin problems.
  • Teaching about the skin provides an opportunity to talk about skin color and diversity in a positive way and to develop compassion for those who may have skin disorders. 

Contact Us:




 ASA Web site

(212) 889-4858



NYAM Web site

(212) 822-7264

Send Email



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