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Updated 27 July 2004, 16.22
Julie Thomas, 15, with her 13cm tattoo

PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Peer pressure and image

Although it is illegal for under-18s to have a tattoo, a 15-year-old schoolgirl managed to get a 13cm tattoo of Winnie the Pooh.

Students invent the perfect temporary tattoo for the under-18s.

Learning aims:

  • Understand the law surrounding tattoos
  • Look at the advantages and disadvantages of permanent tattoos
  • Look at the advantages and disadvantages of temporary tattoos

Teaching Ideas:

1. Icebreaker

    Click here to read the story:

    Ask students:

  • Why did Julie get a tattoo?
  • If you were 18, would you get a tattoo?
  • For what reasons?

2. Warm up

    Students match opinions about tattoos with the most likely speaker.

    Worksheets answers:

    1c, 2g, 3b, 4k, 5a, 6l, 7e, 8f, 9i, 10h, 11j, 12d.

3. Main activity

    Students invent the perfect tattoo for the under-18s.

    [A] Students place the above opinions into two categories:

  • Advantages of getting a permanent tattoo
  • Disadvantages of getting a permanent tattoo

    Julie's tattoo
    They add any other pros and cons they can think of.

    [B] Students list all the disadvantages of a temporary tattoo. E.g. It comes off too easily, you can see it's not the real thing, the colours are too bright.

    Ask students: If you could invent a new temporary tattoo material which imitated the real thing but could be removed whenever you wanted, what would it look like? What would it feel like?

    [C] Students create a poster or leaflet to promote their revolutionary tattoo.

    It should include:

  • Name for the new style of tattoo. E.g. Tatnew.
  • Picture of the tattoo.
  • How the new tattoo overcomes the disadvantages of permanent tattoos. E.g. Getting a "Tatnew" means you can have a new boyfriend or girlfriend every day and still wear their name on your arm.
  • How the new tattoo overcomes the disadvantages of temporary tattoos. E.g. Shiny plastic is a thing of the past with Tatnew. Your friends will think it's the real thing.
  • Age aimed at.
  • Cost.
  • Where you can get it done. E.g. Supermarket, tattoo parlour where it is put on with special glue.

4. Extension activity

    Students respond to other childrens's comments about tattoos.

    Students put a tick next to the comments they agree with and a cross next to the ones they disagree with.

    They select three comments and write a response to each using this opening:

    I agree/disagree with Helen from Gateshead because...

5. Plenary

    Remind students of the law surrounding tattoos.

    Students share their leaflets with the class, focusing on how the new tattoo overcomes the disadvantages of both permanent and traditional temporary tattoos.

Teacher's background:

    The art of tattooing has been around for at least 5,000 years, but only recently has it become a fashion statement.

    Captain Cook is believed to have first brought the word tattoo to the English language after voyaging to Tahiti in the 18th century.

    Many cultures, including the Maoris in New Zealand and North American tribes, have used tattoos.

    Tattooing used to be a mark of travel. Sailors collected tattoos from the countries they visited, much like we get our passports stamped.

    In 1900, it was estimated that 90% of all sailors in the US Navy were tattooed, while the Second World War saw a surge in patriotic tattoos among servicemen.

    Removable tattoos became a fun way of decorating the body in the 60s when bubble gum companies supplied the nation with the first ever form of temporary tattoo.

    A Barbie doll launched in 1999 came with a tattoo of butterfly on her stomach and temporary tattoos for her owner.

    Tattoos have been very fashionable with many celebrities including Mel C from the Spice Girls, David Beckham and Robbie Williams.

    In June 2003, South Korean authorities arrested 170 men on charges of "wilfully tampering with their bodies" to avoid the twenty-six months compulsory military service. They faced prison terms of up to three years. Traditionally tattoos in Korea have indicated that the wearer is a gangster or member of the underworld.

    In America, an estimated one in 10 adults are tattooed.

    According to a study by the British Journal of Dermatology, up to 75% of people who have a tattoo eventually regret it, with most seeking advice about removal after an average of 14 years.

For all links and resources click at top right.

Hear storyHear story
Watch Laura Jones' reportWatch Laura Jones' report

More InfoBORDER=0
TeachersWorksheet: Opinions on tattoos
UKArgument over schoolgirl's tattoo
ChatYour views on tattoos


Past StoriesBORDER=0
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Help and advice on henna tattoos



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