" Ask students why we have different amounts of melanin in our skin. Inform them that melanin is like a curtain in our skin-it protects our skin from the sun's ray. We need some sun to help our bodies make and use vitamins, but too much sun will burn our skin. What color we are depends on our ancestry. White people originated in western European parts of the world, where it was colder. That area did not have much bright sunlight, so people in that area developed skin with less melanin to take advantage of the smaller amount of available sunlight."