Investigating the Ultraviolet Blocking Potential of Various Lotions, Creams, and Oils.

20160502_111554UV beads

This is a follow up to my earlier post dated December 20th, 2015, entitled “Nanoparticles and Sunscreen Ultraviolet Protection Investigation.”  That post provided a project overview as well as communicating the goals, objectives, and rationale.  Useful resources and materials are also listed along with the science learning standards addressed, and an outline of student activities.

Included here: UV Protection from Lotions Lab, is the handout I provided students to help guide them through this multi-day unit of instruction.  To facilitate cooperative learning among members of each research team, students adopted the role of either Project Manager, Data Technician, or Equipment Manager.  Groups larger than three students would have more than one equipment manager.  We devoted some time in class discussing these roles to ensure that there was an equitable differentiation of responsibilities.

The project manager is responsible for coordinating the group’s activities, bringing questions to the instructor (teacher), and relaying instructions back to the group. The data technician is responsible for signing-out a laptop computer, creating the data table, and disseminating the experimental results to each member of the research team (via email or shared using Google docs).  The data technician also plays a leading role in working to ensure that the experimental data is as accurate as possible.  The equipment manager is primarily responsible for signing out all other materials (such as the UV lamp, UV beads, and test lotions), as well as ensuring that all members of the research team participate in cleaning up and returning equipment at the end of class.

Space is provided in the handout for students to pencil in a rough draft of their materials list, procedure, and a blank data table.  Research teams may not begin their experiment until these draft details are approved by the instructor.  The final draft lab report, including 500 word background research must be typed.

In a future post (coming very soon), I will share some examples of student work.  Below I’ve included a few photographs of the experimental set up.

  1. Mystery lotions A-H, loaded into individual micro-tubes for easy distribution among research teams.


2. Using a cotton swab to apply a thin layer of lotion to each of 8 UV sensitive beads (previously separated by color).


3. One of three UV-Lamp stations, a well plate holding 8 lotion-coated UV beads, and a 9th non-coated bead as a control.  Also visible is a student’s draft data table.


4.  Digital camera station to record the raw data of UV light exposed beads.



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