Sunscreen Science #4529


#1

This is a discussion for the Sunscreen Science Experiment. Feel free to connect with the Learning Team here, or to discuss experiment tips, ask questions, leave comments or suggest experiment variations here.
UV_Vis_IR_Portrait


#2

Q: Infrafed light has the longest wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum?
A: True

Q: Bees can see:
A: Visible and UV Light


#3

I only had 2 types of sunscreen at home and they are currently not stocking it in the local stores… So I used a liquid SPF 85 compared to a spray on SPF 50. This essentially means that the variables are a little wonky- not the same manufacturer, form, expiration, etc. But… I was hoping that it would show some sort of difference. There was a difference between the control- no sunscreen and the 2 squares with sunscreen, but nothing appreciable between the 2 with sunscreen. I was wondering if it would have been a better experiment to do outside, on a sunny day vs inside, at night, under an incandescent light. This is what it looked like

Is there a way to get the data in a different format, so that students can graph it?

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 is an ideal example of an experiment to demonstrate what a science fair project can look like. You have a hypothesis, controls and variables and data collection.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful? I had to restart my computer to get the data to actually flow. I got an error message a half dozen times. Also- lesson learned- do not spray the spray bottle- put it on a paper towel or qtip. Do not use permanent marker on the same surface that you are applying sunscreen to unless you want to demonstrate how sunscreen can dissolve it. I would also caution anyone with glasses not to touch the sunscreen- it can do a number on them.

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? Model, check on student work- check to be sure they have limited variables. Suggest other variables to check.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. Follow directions. Come up with new variables. Record data in journal.

What does “student success” look like? Engaged. A notebook/journal entry that clearly demonstrates an understanding of scientific method.


#4

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 was a messy lesson for a computer lab. We used two different spray sunscreens. If I use this experiment again, I will definitely use lotion sunscreen, wrap the plastic wrap around a portable surface once, and set up the squares so they are near the openings of the plastic wrap.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
My students would need to have a dried sample to use, or they would make a typical 8th grade mess of things. I could envision many strange areas that would have a coating of sunscreen, if left to their own devices.

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? In this lesson, I would have to be prepared with sample boards before time, and have enough seeduino kits so the students could go outside, take their readings, and upload them. It would be quite helpful if I were able to load their findings into a more readable format.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. I would be the organizer - every sunscreen sample would already be made. The students would then work in pairs to gather their kits, take them outside, get a reading, then take a reading inside the classroom as well. The students would work together to input their information into a spreadsheet type of document, so we could compare and contrast their findings, and see which variables made the most difference.

**What does “student success” look like?**Student success looks like engaged partners working together to come up with the solution to this problem. Depending on the variables - I would like to have as many different variables as possible, I might even have the groups labeled without knowing which sample was which, then we could have a reveal afterwards while looking at the entire class’s results.


#5
  1. Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
    We start the year with a unit on the scientific method. This would fit in perfectly as one of our experiments. It provides a wonderful opportunity to talk about variables, constants, and how to collect data. It is also applicable to our body systems unit. We could talk about ways to keep our body healthy and show how the effects of overexposure to UV lighting can be harmful.

  2. Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
    I am most nervous about having them handling the delicate circuitry.

  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 would discuss the light spectrum and give examples of types of light across the spectrum and how each is used. We would then talk about the advantages and dangers of exposure to the lights. Sunlight is very important to our health. We need it for vitamin D as well as for emotional health. We depend upon it to grow our crops and as a source of energy. The trick is to get the right balance of sunlight so that it is not dangerous to our health. I would then discuss the benefits of sunblock and note the different levels of protection that are available. I would show students the sensor and the code and ask them if they could figure out what the code was asking the sensor to do (this one is much harder than the knock-knock joke code). I would model how to hold the sensor and explain the experiment that they would be doing. When they had finished their experiment I would ask the class to brainstorm other things that could be tested with the sensor program.

  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?
    I would expect to see students talking about variables and constants, gathering appropriate materials, and following directions to set up their sunscreen boxes. When they are ready to move on to the work with the sensor, students should be appropriately handling the circuit and sensor and running their tests with the variables that they chose. Sensor readings should be recorded in their data boxes and students should be able to make a conclusion about what the data means. I would also like them to think of something that they would do differently if they did the experiment again.


#6

Hi,
I like the idea of keeping the samples unlabeled and running a blind test. I think the kids would be excited about the added mystery of the testing and enjoy trying to figure out which SPF they had tested based on their data. It would be a great opportunity for older kids to learn about the reasons why scientists run blind and double blind studies.


#7

This worked well! There was a marked difference in the data collected. I do a low tech version of this lab - we use different sunscreens, types, SPFs, expired/not expired, etc. as suggested, but we put them on color changing beads and do a qualitative analysis of the color change by looking at color intensity of the beads. (we also test cloth, hats and sunglasses) I LOVE the idea of being able to add the quantitative observations to our study!


#8

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 lesson could fit into the 8th grade science standards about wave properties. As mentioned earlier, it would also be a great lesson for students to learn about good experimental design. It is perfect for learning about experimental and control variables as well as dependent vs independent variables.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
Using the sunscreen without ruining the electronics may be a bit of an issue. I don’t usually worry about “messy” experiments, but this worries me a little because the equipment is so delicate.

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 other lessons, the teacher’s role would be mostly as a facilitator and problem solver. They would introduce the problem or guiding question, model appropriate use of the sensors and equipment and monitor for safety during the experiment. The teacher would also lead an explicit discussion after the data has been collected and analyzed.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class.
I think the students should be planning and carrying out their own investigation. They will be the ones determining which variables to test, how to test them, how much data to collect and how to analyze the data.

What does “student success” look like?
A student who is successful in this lesson is engaged and asking questions, talking about their observations and inferences and identifying sources of error in the investigation.


#9

January may not be the best month to do this investigation. :joy:
Today was the first sunny day we have had all week! :sunglasses:


#10

Oh interesting! Never thought about a dried sample of sunscreen. One idea could also be trying the sunscreen sticks. They look like deodorant, but with sunscreen.


#11

We also do this experiment on beads.


#12

I agree this would be a great lesson to teach kids what a science fair project might look like.


#13

This lesson would fit in great when teaching energy lessons and solar energy.
My students might need a little extra support with the sunscreen being messy. I think if it is portioned out into sauce cups before the experiment they will be fine.
I try to be just a facilitator in any of my science experiments/activities to allow the students to be problem solvers and data collectors.
The students’ role would be to plan and carry out their own investigation and collect and analyze their data.
Student success would be students highly engaged in the lesson and making their own observations and inferences while collecting and analyzing data.


#14

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)?
In our second year Engineering course, students have to complete an energy project. I would like to implement this as an add-on to have them test the effectiveness of light wavelengths for solar cell energy generation. I talk about the wavelengths and frequency but it would be great to have students actually measure the differences to predict whether light generated from various sources (incandescent, cfl, LED and natural) would provide sufficient solar power to meet project parameters.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
Overall I think it is pretty straightforward but it would need to be adapted to measure items as stated above. Consistent measuring would be the key and I would perhaps have student prebuild a support structure for the sensor to ensure equal measuring.

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?
Sufficient modeling of the use of the sensors is necessary but most of the setup would be student responsibility with the teacher acting as facilitator and “consultant”. We want the engineering students learning as they “DO” and thus actively observing and reflecting with the students is important.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class.
They would build, setup and conduct the experiments in groups, troubleshoot inconsistencies and document results for the purpose of using them to determine the efficacy of their energy project design. Sharing between groups would be important to compare data and discuss the reasons for variations.

What does “student success” look like?
The final project uses alternative energy sources to power a predetermined set of LEDS under different parameters. Successful measuring of light sources would provide a more accurate assessment of intensities and frequencies needed to supply the required voltage.


#15

Same here … the actual sunscreen experiment isn’t directly applicable to my courses, but the concept of measuring light intensity for energy purposes really excites me. That’s what’s wonderful about these new, self-contained kits … their capabilities and relative affordability make it possible to conveniently run high level experiments in class.


#16

Yep … wave properties is what I’m looking for too. The amount of available energy is what my students need to be able to determine and this is an interesting way to confirm it alongside direct measurements of voltage and current.


#17

Ok, I think this is my favorite experiment so far. I liked the introduction and the video. I also like the opening questions. For 4th grade we really start focusing on what scientist do, how they make a hypothesis and how important it is to just change one variable at a time. I love how this is something they can again connect to the real world, while not only doing an experiment that effects their lives but allows them to learn to collect data. My variable was different name brands of sunscreen, same spf and both were even in the “sport” category. When I was applying it to the plastic wrap I could tell that one seemed thicker than the other. When I tested it, the thicker one did show on the data that it allowed less to go through it. Right now in Florida where I am it has been raining and cold, but I would have liked to take data on this throughout the day to seem if the data changed. If I did this in the classroom we would check it throughout the day.


#18

Yes, I agree it would be great to use for energy and solar lessons. We actually have that in our curriculum for 4th and every year we do solar ovens to cook smores, this would be a great pre-activity before building our smores ovens.


#19

Great idea on the blind test! I agree with the person above saying it would add to the excitement of guessing which one each is.


#20

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 lesson fits into 2, possibly 3, parts of our curriculum. In science, we must argue the superiority of digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode information. Also, energy and wavelength are studied throughout the year. This could also be used when studying properties of graphing and variables in algebra. Lastly, there are countless ELA connections to be made through targeted studies, research topics or presentations.
Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
I had a couple hiccups getting the Arduino to talk with the computer. I would foresee hardware being the only issue that would need my support. Also, understanding the scientific process of applying constants and variables within an experiment.
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?
During this lesson I would act as a facilitator for experimentation. I would do a little direct teaching on the scientific method and practice, but during the experiment I would help groups remain organize and help them understand concepts foreign to them. A successful teacher would allow all students to list their wonders and help plan their route to making discoveries.


Student success would be understanding how to apply variables, constants, and how to conduct an experiment while keeping it organized and recorded.