Fourth graders have been experimenting with various tests to determine the degree of UV protection offered by different materials, even working at the request of the manager of the Blue Hills Ski Shop to test the level of protection provided by different types of sunglasses.

First, using pipe cleaners and UV light-sensitive beads, fourth graders created a scientific test to determine the UV protection of various materials. Starting out by working inside the building, the children created pipe cleaner “people” made of UV light-sensitive beads and covered them with different materials, such as aluminum foil, colored squares of construction paper, or plastic wrap. Then they went outside to watch what happened when these “clothes” were removed outside in the sun. They found that aluminum foil and sunglass lenses afforded the most protection. 

Next, they were asked by the manager of the Blue Hills Ski Shop to design a “machine” that could test sunglasses to discern how well the lenses filter ultraviolet (UV) light. Knowing from their previous experiments how UV light-sensitive beads work, students worked in groups to imagine, create, plan, test, and improve their UV light-sensing contraptions.