Complimentary Lesson Plan
Your skin is an excellent detector of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When you expose bar skin to sunlight, your skin will either turn brown (a suntan) or red (a sunburn). These responses by your skin are a signal that the cells under your skin are being assaulted by UV radiation. UV radiation wavelengths are short enough to break chemical bonds in your skin tissue and with over prolonged exposure, your skin may wrinkle or skin cancer may appear.
There is a safer way to detect UV…by using the UV Beads. These plastic beads contain a harmless chemical which changes color when exposed to UV radiation. The colors that develop depend on the wavelength of the UV radiation.
These beads contain different pigments that change color when exposed to ultraviolet light from any source – including the sun. The beads are all white in visible light. In UV light, depending on the pigment added to each bead, you will see different colors. Each bead will change color about 50,000 times before the pigment will no longer respond to UV light.
Here are some additional experiments for upper grade students you can try:
Does the glass in your car shield you from UV radiation? Is the glass in the windshield the same as the glass on the side windows?
Do sunglasses shield you from UV? Do they all work equally well?
Devise experiments to see how well sunscreen works to protect you from UV.
Experiment which different types of materials, like paper, sandwich bags, etc to see what blocks UV and what does not.
Questions you might pose to students for their Lab Notebook:
Give each student a pipe cleaner and 3-4 beads..they can string their own UV Detection bracelet…wear it around school…take it home over the weekend, experiment and report back!
The UV detection beads (known as) “SUN-BOW Beads” can be purchased from the following source:
Rainbow Symphony, Inc.
6860 Canby Ave Ste 120
Reseda, CA 91335 USA