This activity explores an image of tattoo ink particles inside cells, which serves as a phenomenon for learning about the structure and color of human skin.
Tattoos are permanent designs made by inserting special pigments, such as tattoo inks, into a person’s skin. The image shows a section of human skin with a red tattoo, magnified under a microscope. Dark red particles of tattoo ink can be seen in the top center of the image. These particles are inside cells in the dermis, the layer of tissue beneath the outer layer of skin (epidermis).
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the image as a phenomenon. The “Student Handout” includes the image and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
- Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
- Describe the structure of skin and the functions of its cells.
- Describe how changes in melanin production, and thus skin color, can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.
dermal cell, dermis, integumentary system, light microscopy, melanin, skin color
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS1-2; SEP1
AP Biology (2019)
IB Biology (2016)
Common Core (2010)
Vision and Change (2009)