Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays, is associated with the development of cataracts, premature aging of the skin, suppression of the immune system, and the development of skin cancer. Experts state that the best protection against developing any of these conditions is to practice basic sun safety – wear sunscreen, avoid intense sunlight between the peak hours of 10am and 4pm, wear appropriate clothing such as sunglasses, hats, and long-sleeved clothing, and avoid sunburns. Australia instituted a public health campaign several decades ago entitled “Slip, Slop, Slap” to encourage residents to slip on a shirt, slop on sunblock, and slap on a hat. The campaign has been very successful, and has been adopted by New Zealand and some Canadian provinces.
Sunlight, in moderation, is good for human health. It’s still the best way to absorb vitamin D; the nutrient is necessary for many health benefits, and is believed to inhibit some forms of cancer. Yet the vast majority of people engage in sun tanning not for any type of health benefit, but for purely cosmetic reasons – they like the way it looks. Teens are particularly vulnerable to the allure of tans, as many of the “celebrities” that they take an interest in, such as the Kardashian sisters and the cast of reality show “Jersey Shore”, strut around bronzed and oiled. As educators, how do we get the message across that tanning really is dangerous to your health?
This week’s Joann’s Picks column on the Gateway’s home page, www.TheGateway.org will all highlight the dangers of sun overexposure using hands-on experiments or activities. Younger students can use solar beads to detect UV rays and watch them turn color as they are exposed to sunlight, while older students research skin cancer risk factors, sunscreen effectiveness, and create public service announcements for their peers, alerting them to the risks of UV light exposure in tanning. Skin cancers are largely preventable, and the persistent trend in tanning via sun exposure and tanning beds is distressing. Educating students of all ages about the risks of tanning is time well spent, and may one day save their lives. Peggy’s Corner discusses how students can create public service announcements for YouTube to create more awareness on the topic of sun safety. In addition, we will be also be featuring many more sun safety, tanning, and skin cancer resources on the Gateway’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook so you don’t miss anything.
Discussions will continue on last week’s theme of Dyslexia on both pages. All of the weekly Gateway columns and resource selections are archived on the following blog site: http://thegatewayto21stcenturyskills.blogspot.com/.
Resources covered in this week’s columns include:
Exploring Solar Beads
This activity uses solar beads to detect ultraviolet light and radiation. This is a good activity to help teach kids about the harmful effect of UV light and possible melanoma. This activity was created by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which offers energy-related stories, lesson plans, research articles, and other activities for teachers.
Lesson Plan: Skin Cancer Prevention
Subjects: Health, Biology, Social Studies
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. and Canada. In this lesson, students will research and identify skin cancer risk factors, identify causes of melanoma and preventative measures to avoid it, and explain the dangers of overexposure to ultraviolet sun rays. Students will then create public service announcements directed at youth audiences. This resource was produced by CNN, which offers student news and education resources in addition to global news.
Protect the Skin You’re In
Subjects: Health, Biology, Social Studies
This lesson is designed for a high school biology, anatomy, or health class to explore the importance of sun safety in relationship to skin cancer prevention. Students will begin with an inquiry based lab regarding sunscreen effectiveness. After analyzing the relationship between lab results and common student practices regarding sun screen use, students will administer and analyze a simple survey to their peers. This lesson will culminate with students developing and implementing a public service campaign designed to increase student use of sunscreen and sun safety awareness. In order for these activities to be most effective, the students should have prior knowledge of skin cancer. This lesson is a product of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which offers up-to-the-minute health information and lots of resources for teachers and students.
About The Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway has been serving teachers continuously since 1996. It is the oldest publicly accessible U.S. repository of educational resources on the Web and the oldest continuously operating service of its kind in the world. The Gateway is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and supported by over 700 quality contributors. The Gateway to 21st Century Skills is the cornerstone of the Global Learning Resource Connection (GLRC) which is a JES & Co. program.
About Joann Wasik- Author of Joann’s Picks
Joann is the Metadata Cataloger for The Gateway for 21st Century Skills. Her primary responsibilities for The Gateway include locating and cataloging standards-based K-12 lessons and activities for The Gateway, as well as writing the “Joann’s Picks” weekly column. Before joining The Gateway in 2006, Joann had been involved with numerous projects at the Information Institute of Syracuse at Syracuse University, including virtual reference with the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) project; virtual reference competencies and education with the Digital Reference Education Initiative (DREI) project; and metadata cataloging with the Gateway for Educational Materials (GEM). Her previous experience also includes technology training and positions in academic libraries. She also conducts freelance research for business and educational clients. Joann holds B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Boston College, and an M.L.S. degree from Syracuse University.
About Peggy James- Author of Peggy’s Corner
Peggy received her B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from The University of Arizona, and continued on to earn her M.Ed. from the U of A as well. She has taught Physical Science and Chemistry at the high school level. She is working toward her endorsement in Gifted Education, and has been actively involved in coaching and volunteering in Odyssey of the Mind and Academic Decathlon. She has a passion for teaching critical thinking and creativity in the classroom. She has done work evaluating and aligning lesson plans to standards as a curriculum consultant with the National Education Association Health Information Network. She is very excited to help create a collaborative environment for educators to discover new resources that will enhance their teaching!
About the GLRC
About JES & Co.
JES & Co., a publicly funded 501(c) (3) education research organization, is a leader in research and deployment of education programs based on open standards. With 20 years of experience in interoperability and portability of educational resources, organizations around the world come to JES & Co. for leadership and guidance on education programs and initiatives. Since its establishment in the early 1990s, JES & Co. has led and managed The Achievement Standards Network (ASN), The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Gateway to 21st Century Skills (formerly known as GEM), the Dell Academy, the Intel Student Certification Program, and Microsoft’s Partners in Learning. For more information about JES & Co. or the Global Learning Resource Connection, visit www.JESandCo.org.