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the Sun in ultraviolet light    What is Ultraviolet Light?

See the Activity in Action Summary of Activity:
This activity explores ultraviolet light -- what it is, where it comes from, how we can detect it, and what effects it has upon us and our Earth. Using (inexpensive to order) UV sensitive beads, the students test the beads with various levels of sunscreen protection, as well as the quality of UV protecting sunglasses. Surprises await when using the beads on cloudy days. Separate activities are generated for grades 2-4, 5-8, and 9-12.
Experimenting with UV-sensitive Beads
A pdf that quickly explains the exercize. This is usually all you need for most grade levels.

Drive By Science UV-sensitive Beads
A cut-down version of the activity useful for public science events.


Full explanation of UV related activities:

Duration of Activity:
Varies with grade level, but will take multiple class periods.

Student Prerequisites:
Varies according the grade. Details are given in the Study Guides.


  • Ultraviolet beads can be obtained from:

    Educational Innovations, Inc.
    362 Main Avenue
    Norwalk, CT 06851
    1-888-912-7474; 203-229-0730

    Catalog: EDI # UV-ask (assorted colors with approximately 240 beads per bag @ $6.95; 1 bag should be enough for a classroom of 30 students

  • Other materials are detailed in the Study Guides.

Teacher Preparation:
Detailed in the Study Guides.

Study Guide and Work Sheets:

Students will:
  1. Students will understand that the Sun gives us more than just rays from the visible light spectrum, that the Sun gives off light we can't see -- such as ultraviolet radiation.
  2. Students will develop an understanding of how to protect their bodies from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
  3. Students will develop an understanding of how the Earth's atmosphere (stratosphere and ozone layer) shields the surface of the Earth from most of the ultraviolet rays that come from the Sun.
  4. Students will explore/demonstrate the effects of ultraviolet radiation on objects that react to ultraviolet rays.
  5. Students will familiarize themselves with the electro-magnetic spectrum to understand where visible and ultraviolet radiation fall within it.

Grade Level:
Separate activites are available for grades 2-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

Relationship to National Standards:
Relationship to the National Science Standards is included in the Study Guides.


Assessment information is included in the Study Guide.

A glossary is included in the Study Guide.

A bibliography is included in the Study Guides.


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