A fun demo to teach about UV light and the action/importance of sunscreen.

These resources were created for the Cambridge science festival 2013.

If you teach primary science, see the headings below to find out how to use this resource:

Skill development

Children will develop their working scientifically skills by:

  • Drawing conclusions and raising further questions to be investigated, based on their data and observations.
  • Asking their own questions about scientific phenomena.

Learning outcomes

Children will:

  • Test a variety of sunscreens and sunglasses to determine their effectiveness at blocking UV light.

Concepts supported

Children will learn:

  • That radiation from the Sun can be harmful, and that there are ways to protect ourselves from UV light.

Suggested activity use

This activity can be used in various ways such as in class, when children are learning about light or seasonal change, with a science club or as part of a science week. You could use this with a whole class as an investigation to stimulate discussion about what they have observed.

As an extension of the activity, children could test a range of sunscreens and sunglasses to determine which offer the best protection. Children could also devise some simple tests, such as water resistance and ease of application, before rating the sunscreens.

Practical considerations

A variety of sunscreens and sun glasses will need to be given to the children, along with security pens and UV lights.

You will need to take into account health and safety considerations regarding children handling sunscreen.