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In this inquiry-based investigation, children use ultraviolet detection beads to explore unseen energy produced by the Sun. The experiment, developed by NASA, is presented in the context of the Messenger spacecraft: how can a craft be designed to withstand the proximity to planet Mercury without melting? The lesson is completely turn-key, with printable worksheets, data table, warm-up and reflection questions, and detailed background information. Don't miss the pattern for building a model of the Messenger spacecraft, complete with sunshade and solar "panels".  

See Related Materials for links to the NASA Messenger home page and to a You Tube video on how to use UV color changing beads.  

This item is part of a larger collection of lessons compiled and edited by the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).
Editor's Note: Young children can't yet understand the complexity of energy as a physical science concept. But by experimenting with light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and sound, they begin to grasp that phenomena can be observed and measured.....even controlled. By describing properties of objects and changes over time, they build a foundation to understand energy as an agent of change that underlies interactions of matter.  Note about lab materials: A pack of 250 ultraviolet detection beads can be obtained at science supply stores for less than $10.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Inquiry Learning
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electromagnetic Radiation
= Electromagnetic Spectrum
Optics
- Color
- Geometrical Optics
= Reflection - Flat Surfaces
- Elementary School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Laboratory
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Student Guide
- Assessment Material
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Lesson Plan
- Laboratory
- Assessment
- New teachers
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© 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science
Keywords:
EM spectrum, UV experiment, UV light experiment, electromagnetic radiation, elementary energy lesson, light, light energy, light waves, radiant energy, spectrum
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 4, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
April 5, 2013 by Caroline Hall

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1A. The Scientific Worldview
  • 3-5: 1A/E2. Science is a process of trying to figure out how the world works by making careful observations and trying to make sense of those observations.
1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 3-5: 1B/E1. Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments.
  • 3-5: 1B/E2b. One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations.
1C. The Scientific Enterprise
  • 3-5: 1C/E1. Science is an adventure that people everywhere can take part in, as they have for many centuries.

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 3-5: 4E/E2c. A warmer object can warm a cooler one by contact or at a distance.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.

11. Common Themes

11C. Constancy and Change
  • 3-5: 11C/E2b. Often the best way to tell which kinds of change are happening is to make a table or graph of measurements.

12. Habits of Mind

12A. Values and Attitudes
  • 3-5: 12A/E2. Offer reasons for claims and consider reasons suggested by others.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 3-5: 12D/E3. Use numerical data in describing and comparing objects and events.
  • 3-5: 12D/E4. Read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe what the tables and graphs show.
  • 3-5: 12D/E7. Write a clear and accurate description of a real-world object or event.

NSES Content Standards

Con.A: Science as Inquiry
  • K-4: Understandings about Scientific Inquiry
Con.B: Physical Science
  • K-4: Properties of Objects & Materials

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Teaching Energy in the Elementary Grades

Fun and thought-provoking experiment that uses inexpensive UV color-changing beads to explore unseen energy produced by the sun. Developed by NASA, the lesson is presented in the context of the Messenger mission to Mercury:  how can a spacecraft be built to withstand the proximity to Mercury without melting? Includes worksheets, data table, warm-up & reflection questions, and detailed set-up procedures. Don't miss the pattern for building a model of the Messenger spacecraft!

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AIP Format
(American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, 2010), WWW Document, (http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/).
AJP/PRST-PER
Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy (American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC, 2010), <http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/>.
APA Format
Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy. (2010). Retrieved August 21, 2014, from American Association for the Advancement of Science: http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/
Chicago Format
American Association for the Advancement of Science. Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2010. http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/ (accessed 21 August 2014).
MLA Format
Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2010. 21 Aug. 2014 <http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy}, Publisher = {American Association for the Advancement of Science}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {21 August 2014}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy
%D 2010
%I American Association for the Advancement of Science
%C Washington, DC
%U http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2010
%T Science NetLinks: Sensing Energy
%I American Association for the Advancement of Science
%V 2014
%N 21 August 2014
%9 application/pdf
%U http://sciencenetlinks.com/lessons/sensing-energy/


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Is Supplemented By Video: UV Detection Beads

A 5-minute video produced by Steve Spangler Science that explains how UV detection beads work and shows a related experiment.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Associated With NASA: Mercury Messenger Mission

The home page of NASA's Messenger Mission, contains timeline, spacecraft design, flyby event coverage, instrumentation, and resources for educators & learners.

relation by Caroline Hall

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Sep 4 - Oct 15, 2013