Sunglasses Experiment #1139


#1

This is a discussion for the Sunglasses Experiment. Feel free to discuss experiment tips, questions, comments or variations here.
sunglassestn


#2

It was a cloudy day so thought I would try it indoors under some CFL’s and I was able to get some interesting differences between the pairs of sunglasses. I used RayBan, a promotional pair from a fair and some from a local box store. The RayBan did not disappoint and had the lowest readings, all seemed to block UV well. If it stops raining I can’t wait to go outside. The introductory information about light was great especially the cumulative effects of UV exposure, even more important when you are at 7500 feet above sea level.


#3

Who would have thought that I could end up with three consecutive cloudy days in Southern California, resulting in readings of 0 UV, even without sunglasses. This surprised me as I was under the impression that even on a cloudy day, UV levels exist (Is it possible that I have a faulty sensor?).

I was able to determine that my Under Armour glasses (expensive) did a much better job of filtering light (lux) than Vera Bradley (also expensive) by reducing the lux by over 50%. The freebee sunglasses were the worst at almost six times the lux as the Under Armours.

Nonetheless, I have enough idea of what the lab should look like. I believe this experiment is something students could easily do. While it is nice to compare different sunglasses, I would modify it to collect UV readings by time of day and even weather conditions. This would make for a good segue into the sunscreen lab you provided a link to. Regarding real life applications of the effect of UV levels by time and condition of UV exposure provide insight into the need for sunscreen use and good Uv protection eye-ware. This connection would need to be facilitated by the teacher.


#4

The sun has come out. I was able to get UV readings. All the sunglasses reduced UV equally according to the sensor. Price has more to do with style and name brand than how well they filter UV light.


#5

This is interesting to determine quality vs quantity and see how different brands and lenses actually keep out the UV rays. I used three different brands and one with polarized lenses. The polarized lenses actually kept out the UV rays the best. The expensive brand worked well, and the free pair did very little.


#6

I love the idea of polarized and non polarized!


#7

I’m still chuckling about the fact that the weather was overcast for several days in sunny southern CA!


#8

We have had the same problem in Florida. Today is the first day we have had any sun since Mother’s Day. I have done the experiment twice, once during lunch and once during my planning period, because I was amazed at the results. My cheap pair of “Made in China” glasses actually did a better job of filtering out light and they all did about the same with UV. See more in my discussion.


#9
  1. Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
    This would give students an opportunity to evaluate a solution to a real-world problem based on several variables that affect cost. They could determine if the cost is justified based on reliability, aesthetics, but mostly safety in the amount of visual light and more importantly UV rays sunglasses let in.
  2. Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
    They may have a little difficulty being consistent holding the glasses in the same manner each time in taking the readings. But I think if it is stressed how important it is for accuracy they may be extra cautious.
  3. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
    I really feel that with all STEM lessons the important thing is for teachers to try to step back and let students do the experiments on their own, even if mistakes are made. They need to be there to prevent a student from feeling frustrated. Students need to discover things on their own. They will appreciate what they learn and remember it.
  4. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
    Being engaged and learning the importance of following directions. Then taking te information they have gathered and applying it to the problem they have been given and coming up with a solution.

#10

By the way - I discovered that my prescription sun glasses, the $20 sunglasses, and the cheap “Made in China” sun glasses all had the same UV protection, which greatly surprised me since my prescription sunglasses are supposed to be top of the line in polarization, etc. Then the cheapest sunglasses actually had the best protection against visual light. I ran the experiment twice because I was so surprised by my results.


#11

Hi everyone,

This is another great experiment to help students bridge the gap between the classroom environment and real-life applications. Here in Texas, the Sun is a big problem and can be dangerous on the skin and eyes.

  1. Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?

I can use this exercise with almost every class I teach: Biology, Environmental Sc., and Physics. Testing the quality of sunglasses can be a good research project.

  1. Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support to be successful?

I would use this exercise as an experimental research project, so I think that the students would benefit most from support in determining the accuracy of the data collected and estimating the potential range of errors caused by instrument limitations, latitude, altitude, atmospheric conditions, etc.

  1. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?

This is one lesson where the students would have to design their experiment entirely on their own and I would be a facilitator. Before they collect data, I would sign-off on their research method.

  1. If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?

Students are successful here when they can craft an experimental research project that shows accuracy in the data collection and depth in the data analysis (e.g. methodological limitations, statistical analysis, sources and estimation of errors, etc).

Thanks,
Gianluca


#12

Hi Lori,

A quality vs quantity comparison is a great idea for an experiment. Polarization is also an interesting variable to test. Students could test to see if the orientation of the lenses in reference to the Sun has any effect in their ability to polarize UV rays.

Thanks,
Gianluca


#13

This is a great lesson, too bad I didn’t have this with the eclipse. We all had generic glasses, but they blocked the sun safely. With the sensor, we would have known for sure! The sunglasses I had all did an equally good job of blocking the UV (in between thunderstorms)


#14

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
This is not a best fir for my science curriculum, but I could see using it as a STEM project and tie it into photography with students testing polarizing lens covers with cameras. Do they change the image outcome?

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support to be successful?
I think this is a lesson that students would be very successful completing as an inquiry based lesson. I think that once they were comfortable using the sensors they would easily be successful collecting and analyzing the data. I still have students every year that are resistant to use “equipment” and I would like to see everyone use the sensors in rotation to become more comfortable with the data collection. I would have to build it in to make sure everyone collected data. Past experience s=has shown me that some students in a group will always allow others to complete the experiment piece. I am curious what other teachers do to ensure all students gain lab experiences in group work.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
As I mentioned above I think it would be my role to facilitate that all are gaining access to the sensors and have the experience of collecting data.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
Students would be expected to use what I call a code of cooperation that they complete as a group prior to the lesson to ensure that all students feel comfortable gaining the experience with using the sensors and that they do not feel like they are unable to ask questions. I think that hearing good group discussions and seeing all students participate=success.


#15

Your idea of using polarization as a variable made me think about the connection to photography and polarizing lens covers.


#16

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
This lesson would fit in with my upper grades’ study on light and energy. This would provide an opportunity to apply some of the science we’ve been studying to a real world scenario.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support to be successful?
I think that some of my students would find it challenging to work with electronic components and breadboards. Their small hands might have trouble manipulating the sensors, resistors… I would probably give them had lenses so that they can see the breadboard closer up as well as the components. I would even go so far as to put the components under the doc camera and discuss some of the things we noticed about each. I’d be curious to see if students would notice the subtle differences in resistors. As with the previous lessons, I’d definitely stick to small groups.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
As in my previous lessons, my role would be to facilitate and to answer questions. I would do my best not to give away the solutions. Carefully crafted questions could certainly help students troubleshoot their own mistakes. I’ll admit, it is reeeeeeeeally hard biting my tongue when I know full well what the solution is. It is through struggle when real learning takes place.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
In this lesson, my student’s role would be that of a curious, fearless engineer. They would be very engaged as this activity is something they can all relate to. It would be fun to compare their predictions to the outcomes in the end. Success would present itself in the form of students who do not give up and see the value/relevance in the data they are collecting. Successful students would be able to explain why their sunglasses were worth the price they paid or not.


#17

I had a few students help me with this project. They volunteered to stay after school and test their sunglasses. It turned into a fierce competition, complete with trash talking, to see who’s sunglasses were “better”. The students had a lot of fun during this project because it involved their personal property which is in a way an extension of them. The next day, I had many more students request to participate in the project. With the end of the year nearly here, I did not have time and had to turn away many students that were volunteering to stay after and conduct experiments! I must be a horrible teacher for doing this but they are excited for next year and expanding the project in many directions. A couple of students have asked about borrowing a kit to use for their science fair projects. Overall another great project that caught their attention and sparked interest in students that normally wouldn’t be so active in a class assignment.


#18

I am behind in doing this experiment so I am going to try a pair of eclipse glasses too, just to see what happens!


#19

Oh I love this so much! I can’t wait to see your results!!


#20

I think this is just an all-around interesting activity, and could be incorporated into our STEM plan. It would also probably be a fit with our energy standards.

This lesson was pretty straight forward. I would just make sure students were controlling variables and being consistent in how they were getting their readings as I noticed that was the hardest part for me.

I would be facilitating this activity and walking around asking questions and observing students in the process, again making sure students were measuring accurately.

The student role is very active in this activity. I would love to see them bring in a variety of glasses to test just to make it more interesting. Student success in this case would be the conclusions they come to and the patterns they notice as the carry out the experiment. There are so many opportunities for “ah-has!” and “what-ifs?”

I loved this activity, and made it more interesting by adding some clear, cheap glasses and a pair of eclipse glasses from our science kit. My teaching partner and I spent most of our planning time outside trying to find patterns and were shocked that her sunglasses (the most expensive of the bunch!) showed no reduction in luminosity, just UV. The only variable that was different is that her lenses had a brown rather than black/gray tint. Hmmmm… The clear ones performed the same, and showed no change in UV, the cheap, dark glasses were next highest, my mid-priced glasses, then the eclipse glasses which still showed light entering!