Construction paper and sunscreen
Sunscreen Art

So what does sunscreen really do?  Investigate it with Imagination Igniter #4!

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Transcript of video:

Imagination Igniter #4

Sunscreen art

The sun is our main source of light on Earth.  

The light from the sun lets us see everything around us

what scientists call the “visible spectrum”

But did you know that the energy from the hot, hot sun creates so much more than visible light?

It makes a whole electromagnetic spectrum.  

Infrared light has less energy than visible light but makes your skin feel warm when the sun shines on it.

Ultraviolet light carries more energy than visible light and can damage your skin.

That’s why you should wear sunscreen.

The sunscreen protects your skin either by reflecting ultraviolet light or by absorbing it.

Construction paper can let us safely see what a difference sunscreen can make.

On this paper, you can see my handprint from sunscreen lotion and an attempt at The Imagination Lab logo created with spray sunscreen.

Now, look at the same piece of paper after 3 hours in the sun.

Let’s compare them side by side -- can you see how much the color of the construction paper has changed?

The ultraviolet light from the sun has faded the pigment in the paper!

Here’s the same experiment with black construction paper, before and after.

Now with blue construction paper. The places where the sunscreen reflected the ultraviolet light did not change color as much!

Compare where the clip blocked ultraviolet light from reaching the paper and where the sunscreen protected it.

An E-Skill comes to mind -- Regulation

When you use regulation, you recognize and manage your emotions.

Ultraviolet light has the potential to cause damage -- 

just like out of control emotions -- 

but when you recognize and manage your emotions, 

you can prevent that damage, just like sunscreen can!

Try this Imagination Igniter for yourself. You’ll need construction paper (dark colors work best), something to anchor your paper so it doesn’t move, sunscreen, and a sunny day.

Put sunscreen on the paper -- maybe you can write your name! - 

and leave it out in the sun for at least 3 hours.  

Use anchors to hold the paper so it doesn’t move (I used clips, 

but rocks would work!)

I wonder what happens if you try this on a cloudy day?  Or if you leave it longer?  If you use a different kind of sunscreen or paper?

Give it a try and then email your results to

Or share with us on social media.