Monday, March 22, 2010

UV Beads

UV beads appear white until they are exposed to ultra-violet rays (namely, the sun), at which time they change color.

There are several ways you could use these beads in your science classroom. Here are a few ideas...

Provide each student with a bracelet (several beads strung on a pipe cleaner) to wear for a day. They need to note any time the beads change color and then hypothesize what causes the color change. You can require the students to return the bracelets at the end if you wish, so you don't have to keep investing in beads.

Test the effectiveness of sunscreen using the beads - does it block enough of the UV to keep the beads from changing color?

Test the effectivness of your sunglasses using the beads.

Does UV travel through clouds? (Will the beads change color even on cloudy days?)

I got my beads from Steve Spangler Science. They have all variety of UV items - nail polish, beads, etc. as well as a whole catalog filled with science-y toys. You can also get the beads here. If you know me in real-life and want to borrow a few to check them out... let me know!

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