At the 2019 Back to School – Stay in School Fair, ACT-SO students lead an interactive science lab reinforcing the importance and demonstrating the effectiveness of both sunblock and melanin as it relates to the harmful rays from the sun. It was a pleasure watching the children think and guess what would happen with each step of the experiment. Having the students in our program take the reins allowed them to lead, teach, and strengthen their interpersonal skills.

This is a fun, quick activity you can do at home with your littles! 

Materials: white paper, markers, highlighters, UV lamp, sun screen

On a white sheet of paper, draw anything that comes to mind using highlighters and markers. When you shine the Ultra Violet lamp over your drawing, you’ll see the highlighter ink glow while the other ink may not. 

The lamp represents harmful sun rays while the ink represents our skin. Where ever the ink glows, imagine this as exhibiting the dangerous effects of being exposed to the sun for too long: sun burns, skin cancer, wrinkles, liver spots, boils, etc. To protect ourselves from the sun, our body generates melanin, nature’s sun block. However, that’s not 100% effective! 

Cover various parts of your drawing with sunscreen then shine the UV lamp over the paper again. You’ll notice some places that glowed are now dim or not glowing at all. 

This is because the sun screen blocks the UV light from getting to the ink exactly how it blocks sun rays from getting to your skin! 

It’s quite fascinating and simple to recreate. Try it out and tell us what discoveries your children made!