Let’s explore the scientific method. You are given a bag of small white beads that change color to a deep purple within seconds when exposed to UV radiation. When placed in the dark, they will go back to white in a few minutes. Use these
beads to test a product or situation for UV light exposure.
Most of you have had personal experience with UV exposure. Did a product fail to protect you? Are you curious if you are in danger of harmful UV rays in a given situation? Design an experiment to test this. You have an unlimited supply of
beads. Be creative, but keep it simple. Test only one variable and be sure to include a control. Remember, several trials
and a graph of experimental data is more convincing than a single trial, so keep this in mind when you design the
experiment. Many products are labeled “UV protected” and these are good candidates for your experiment. Feel free to think outside the box and be creative. Some possible questions include:
Does saltwater protect me better than freshwater when I am submerged on a sunny day?
Are my expensive sunglasses really UV protected?
Can I get a sunburn through my side window when driving?
Is my 2-year-old suntan lotion still active?
The experiment you design isn’t as important as how you use the principles of the scientific method to test the variable
involved, so feel free to get creative.
Define the following terms as they relate to the scientific method.
Design a bead experiment to test a single variable. In an introductory paragraph, describe the background observations that led you to design the experiment. Why did you choose this variable? Clearly state the hypothesis to be tested, and indicate the materials that will be required.
Provide a detailed list of steps required to carry out the experiment. Make sure to include the types of measurements you will be making and the duration of the experiment.
Although you are not actually doing the experiment, you should write a short conclusion, explaining what the results might be and how those results might be used. Suggest what could be done next. For the sample question above, determining if the protection (or lack of protection) is dependent upon the depth of the water might be a good next step.
Note: This assignment is intended to test your knowledge of the scientific method through the use of a simple measuring device. It is not a research paper. However, be sure to use AMA style to cite any sources you use to describe the scientific method and write your introductory paragraph.
If you are interested in actually doing the experiment, these beads can be found in many novelty shops and online. Nail polish that changes color in the sun can be used to make a UV detecting card. If you actually do the experiment, share the results with your instructor! We would love to hear about it.

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