Inside this experiment you will find ten white plastic beads. These are special plastic beads that contain a chemical substance or pigment that changes color when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light.

When exposed to UV light, the beads will become red, orange, yellow, blue, or purple. If the beads are removed from UV light, they will slowly return to their white color. The beads can change between white and colors thousands of times.

This experiment will demonstrate how light can change the color of these beads.

The Experiment

Place five beads in the opaque brown plastic bag included in this package. Leave the other five beads in the clear bag and expose both bags to the sunlight. What happens?

Try placing the beads in other containers you find at home or school, including metal, paper, plastic, glass, clear, opaque, and colored. Place some beads in direct sunlight and others in the shade. Where is the UV light the strongest?

Coat the beads with different SPF sunscreens (keep two beads without) then expose them to sunlight. How do they compare?

Cover some beads with a pair of sunglasses. Try different sunglasses. What happens?

Expose the beads to different kinds of light sources: fluorescent, incandescent, colored, LED, black light, etc. Do the beads respond to any of these artificial lights?

Demo Delivery Hints




Discussion Questions