Online Learning
Curriculum Resources

UV Meters

UV Meters give an accurate, visible measure of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in real time, making them a vital educational tool and prompting sun protection. This activity pack aims to provide you with useful information about your UV Meter and how to best utilise it to educate your school community about UV and sun protection.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the major cause of skin cancer. UV damage also causes sunburn, tanning, premature ageing and eye damage. The good news is you can reduce your skin cancer risk by being SunSmart. Sun protection is recommended whenever UV levels reach 3 or above. Below 3, sun protection isn’t needed unless you are outdoors for extended periods (such as an outdoor worker) or near reflective surfaces like snow.  Unlike the sun’s heat and light, we can’t see or feel UV radiation – the UV Meter provides a visual prompt for when sun protection is needed in real-time.

Key messages

  • The sun produces UVA (skin damage/skin cancer, aging, wrinkles), UVB (sunburn, skin cancer) and UVC (doesn’t reach earth). See Resource 5.
  • The sun produces heat that we can feel and light that we can see.
  • The sun produces ultraviolet radiation that we cannot see or feel.
  • A sunburn is a radiation burn from the sun. The sun produces ultraviolet radiation that causes damage to the skin.
  • When the UV Index is 3 or above, sun protection is required.
  • The UV Index is an open-ended numerical scale that measures the amount of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface.
  • Clear sky UV peaks at solar noon and follows a bell curve pattern.  Solar noon is the point at which the sun is directly overhead. See Resource 7.
  • UV radiation can reflect off surfaces, so it is important to use a combination of sun protection. See Resource 6.
  • UV and heat are not the same thing. We do 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.
  • Be a positive SunSmart role model! This is a powerful key for children adopting healthy habits that could last a lifetime.