Online Learning
Curriculum Resources

UV Beads Activity Pack

UV beads are a great educational tool to teach science concepts around sun protection and UV radiation. UV beads contain pigments that change colour when exposed to sunlight or other sources of UV radiation. The stronger the UV radiation present, the quicker the colour change and the deeper the colour. Once indoors and away from the sun’s UV radiation, the beads change back to off-white.

The following activities have been organised into year levels; this is just a guide, but all activities can be adapted for all year levels. 

Information about ultraviolet (UV) radiation

  • UV radiation is part of the natural energy produced by the sun.
  • On the electromagnetic spectrum, UV light has shorter wavelengths than visible light. The sun produces UVA (longer wavelength that can result in skin damage/skin cancer, aging, wrinkles), UVB (medium wavelength that can result in sunburn, skin cancer) and UVC (short wavelength that is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and doesn’t reach Earth).
  • The sun produces heat that we can feel (infrared) and light that we can see.
  • The sun produces ultraviolet radiation that we cannot see or feel.
  • UV radiation is a proven human carcinogen.
  • A sunburn is a radiation burn from the sun.
  • The UV Index is an open-ended numerical scale that measures the amount of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface.
  • The UV Index shows a daily time period shows the strength of UV levels and daily UV peaks at solar noon on a clear sky day.  Solar noon is the point at which the sun is directly overhead.
  • UV radiation can bounce and reflect off surfaces, so it is important to use a combination of sun protection.
  • When the UV Index is 3 or above, sun protection is required.
  • UV and heat are not the same thing. We not only need to use sun protection when it is hot. The UV Index can be 3 or above when it is cool and cloudy too.