Chemistry of Summer
- How do sunscreens help prevent skin damage?
- Is there any way to get a “safe” tan?
- What’s the best sand-to-water ratio for building sandcastles?
- How can chemistry keep mosquitoes from biting me?
Answer these questions and more as you explore the science of summer!
- UV Testing with Color Changing UV Beads
It’s a cloudy day, so you can leave the sunscreen at home, right? Think again! See what these beads can show you about the sun.
- UV Bead Experiment
Are your sunglasses up to the task of protecting your eyes from UV rays? Design your own experiment to see.
- Pizza Box Solar Oven
Harness the sun’s energy to get your s’more marshmallows nice and gooey.
- Green Sunscreen
Everything else is going green—why not sunscreen? Marine organisms hold the key.
- Understanding UVA and UVB
Learn the A B C’s of UV rays. What makes them different from each other? What does your skin need for full protection?
- UV Index
If there’s rain in the forecast, don’t forget your umbrella. But what if there’s a high UV index forecast? Find out, then check your own location’s forecast.
- The Science of Sunscreen & How It Protects Your Skin
Which UVA & UVB blockers are in sunscreen? Will you find them all in U.S. versus other countries’ sunscreens? Find out here!
- Using Children's Literature to Teach Science: Sun Up, Sun Down
How can a piece of newspaper show you if your sunscreen is working? Learn how in this experiment.
- What's That Stuff?—Sunscreens
Sun worshipers take heed. Learn how the ingredients in sunscreen do their job.
- How Does Sunscreen Work?
Quick trivia questions: When was the first widely used sunscreen created? What did it look like? The answers are here!
- The Chemistry of Sunglasses
Don’t just protect your skin in the summertime—your eyes need some chemistry cover-up too.
- Lightening Hair and Darkening Skin
What’s the science behind why one gets lighter and the other darker?
- How Do Sunless-Tanning Products Work?
Get that sunny golden glow without even stepping outside, all thanks to chemistry.
- What’s Sunless Tanner?
Take a look at the chemistry behind this “tan-in-a-can,” including its connection to bacon and coffee.
- Indoor Tanning
A tanning bed is a fast way to a tan, but is it safe?
- Beach Bum Science: Compression of Wet Sand
Just in case you need an excuse to hang out at the beach… try this science-fair-style project about wet sand.
- Using Children’s Literature to Teach Science: Johnny Castleseed
Help kids learn about the magic of spending a day at the beach with a friend, along with the science of Magic Sand.
- Magic Sand
Don’t look for this amazing sand at the beach. Head to the toy department instead and see why they call it “magic.”
- Sand Science Experiment for Kids
Easy, quick, and simple. Take a close-up look at this sandy stuff.
- How to Build the Perfect Sandcastle
Ever wondered what the best ratio of sand-to-water is for a super sandcastle? Wonder no longer—science has the answer!
- Sand Grains Gallery
If you see one grain of sand, you’ve seen them all. Not true! Take a close look at these different sand samples and learn about their origins.
- Strong Sand
The pressure of these particles can protect something very delicate. Challenge a friend to see!
- Liquid Sand
A bin of sand turns into a liquid-looking lake of particles, but without water. How?
- The World Is Running Out of Sand
After a day at the beach, it seems like there’s sand everywhere. Could we actually be running out of this resource?
- Wet Sand vs. Dry Sand
Use your calculator and temperature sensors to collect data during a sand showdown.
- How Does Sand Get Its Color?
Red, orange, pink, white, black, purple, green. Where does the color come from?
- The Chemistry of Insect Repellents
What makes mosquitoes want to hang out and bug you? How can you stop them?
- Analyze This! Mosquito Repellents That Work
Scientists put repellents to the test. What came out on top?
- Natural Insect Repellent Recipe
Like the great outdoors, but not all the insects you might find there? Learn how you can make your own insect repellent.
- Victoria's Secret Perfume and Mosquitoes
Researchers found surprising results during an insect repellent test. Find out about their “Bombshell” results.
- What's the Best Way To Keep Mosquitoes from Biting?
What’s the best repellent? What are your other options?
- Ant "Noses" and Better Bug Repellents
A new class of chemical compounds can send insect noses into overdrive, with beneficial results for humans.
- New Mosquito Repellent Made
Chemical compounds that make you invisible to mosquitoes? I’d buy that!
(all sites accessed May 2018)