17 Jun Stem Challenge: Sunscreen Painting Challenge
Summer is almost here and it is getting hotter every day! As we are spending more time outside, it’s time to pull out the sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. In this #CMMSSTEMChallenge we are going to explore how sunscreen works to protect us from the sun.
Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on social media using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, June 21st!
- Paint Brush or fingers!
- Black Construction Paper (or other dark colored paper)
- Rocks or other items to hold the paper down
- The first part of this challenge is an art activity! So set your work area up just like a regular painting activity, only instead of paint put sunscreen out. You can squeeze a bit onto a paper plate, into a cup, or onto a paint palette.
- Use the sunscreen as paint and design a masterpiece on your dark paper. Be creative with your painting, you can paint flowers, the sun, the beach, a family portrait, or anything you would like!
- Once you have completed your painting, take it outside and place it in the sun, using rocks or other heavy items at the corners to make sure it doesn’t blow away.
- We are now going to leave our painting in the sun for a few hours in direct sunlight. Leave your painting for a minimum of 2 hours. What do you think is going to happen to the area where you painted sunscreen?
- After you have left your painting out to dry in the sun for a few hours, go and check it. What happened? You will see that the paper that was covered in the sunscreen ‘paint’ is the same color it used to be, while the rest of the page has faded! You can pick up the rocks you put in the corners to double-check. The rocks should have physically blocked the sun and kept the color intact. If sunscreen can protect the paper that well, do you think it can protect your skin?
Sunshine will fade the paper. This is because the ultraviolet waves from the sun break down the chemical bonds in the dyes that produce the colors we see. This breakdown makes the color look faded. Sunscreen creates a barrier so those ultraviolet waves can’t reach the chemical bonds of the dyes. It’s that simple, when you put on sunscreen you are creating a barrier between your skin and the UV rays from the sun. This is how you avoid sunburns, so make sure you are using your sunscreen this summer!