The Sun’s Rays: Light and its Effects

Sunscreen Habit

The Sun’s Rays: Light and its Effects

Duration: 40 minutes

  • 4-PS3-2: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.] 
  • 4-PS3-3: Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the change in the energy due to the change in speed, not on the forces, as objects interact.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.]

By the end of this lesson, the student should able to:

  • Recognize the importance of using sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays

Lesson Plan

Lesson Introduction – Engage

Duration: 15 min

  • Transparent container of UV beads 
  • Black bag to cover the container
  • Welcome students to class.
  • Show students a transparent container (covered in black bag) filled with UV color changing beads. Do not tell students that the beads can change color. 
  • Elicit from students:


“What do you think are these?” “Can you describe their appearance?” 


  • Tell students that they are going out of the classroom to observe what will happen if the container of beads are exposed to sunlight. 
  • Open the lid of the container and only expose the top to sunlight. 
  • Elicit from students:


What did you notice about the beads? (They changed colors.)

Why do you think this happens?


  • Remove the black bag immediately and have students observe. Students should observe that the beads change color when it is exposed to sunlight immediately after the black bag is removed. 


Duration: 30 min

  • For each ziploc bag: 
  • 4 small boxes of UV beads
  • Marker
  • 4 small bottles of: 
  • Lotion
  • SPF 15 sunscreen
  • SPF 50 sunscreen
  • UV light
  • Ask students to reflect on the following questions:


Have you ever had a sunburn?

Do you use sunscreen? How often?

Do you pay attention to SPF levels? 


  • Tell students that they are going to investigate the effectiveness of applying sunscreen.
  • Divide the class into groups of 4. Give each group one ziplock bag containing 4 small sealed plastic boxes of UV beads and markers. 
  • Give students 3 samples: 2 sunscreen with different SPF levels and 1 moisturizer lotion. 
  • Get the groups to apply the lotion and sunscreen to the lids of the plastic boxes of the UV beads. Each lid should have an equal amount of lotion
  • Have students discuss and predict what will happen after applying the lotion and sunscreen on the boxes. 
  • Students should use the marker to label the boxes, to keep track of what they apply to each box: 
    • Control (nothing applied to box)
    • Lotion
    • SPF 15 
    • SPF 50 
  • Have students place the 4 plastic boxes on a black poster board and bring the boxes outside or under sunlight for approximately 1 minute. 
  • Let them observe how the beads change colors. 
  • Bring the students back and lead a discussion.
  • Explain that the beads in the boxes change color in UV light.
  • Elicit from students:


What does this say about sunscreen protecting from exposure to UV rays? 

What will happen to you if you are out under the sun for too long? 

What will happen to your skin color?