We know that the sun gives us the light we need to see, even if we can’t see it all! So, how do you teach young scientists about something that is nearly invisible, like ultraviolet light? Our favorite, and most colorful, way to demonstrate UV light is by using our UV Color Changing Beads. These tiny beads appear white while indoors, but take them outside and watch the ultraviolet-sensitive pigment change to blue, green, orange, purple, red, and yellow!
UV Color Changing Beads are the perfect tool for testing sunscreen and sunglasses, or creating gorgeous works of art using the science of the sun. It’s no surprise that these special beads are hugely popular with both science teachers and summer camp leaders… there is just nothing like them! UV Color Changing beads can change over and over again or be left in the sun without fading. They really are a sun science must-have!
NOTE: Quantities are approximate.
What Does It Teach?
UV Color Changing Beads harness the power of ultraviolet rays to change colors right before your eyes. Use the beads to teach kids about the ultraviolet radiation and the care that needs to be taken to prevent the damage it may cause. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the invisible radiation that will give you a sunburn and injure your eyes if you’re not careful. Sunglasses and sunscreens absorb UV photons. You can test their protective qualities by using your UV detecting beads.
Science Fair Connection
You can’t just put UV Beads in the sun and call it a science fair project. You’re just demonstrating the concept — these beads change color in ultraviolet light. To make the UV Beads activity a science fair project, you have to change something (identify a variable), run some more tests, and make some comparisons.
- Find several different types of medicine bottles and test to see which one is the most effective in blocking the damaging UV rays. Be sure to use the same number and color of UV Beads and expose the beads to the light through the bottle for the same amount of time to standardize the conditions as much as possible.
- Examine the UV-blocking powers of different sunglasses.
- Test different sunscreens by placing UV Beads in a zipper-lock bag and covering the bag in sunscreen.
Remember, you have to keep all other factors the same. Use the same light sources and the same number of beads. There are many ways to use UV Beads for a science fair project. We have written up a sample science fair experiment called The Sunscreen Factor that walks you through a project step-by-step. If you are interested in a simple, straightforward, and quick science fair project, be sure to check it out. It doesn’t do the work for you… you wouldn’t want that anyway, right? It does give you a template to follow to ensure that you use the scientific method, control your variables, and document your discoveries.