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Family STEAM Challenge: Sun Prints

use sunlight to create your own artwork!

The warm sunshine is just around the corner, but let’s not forget to be safe! With this challenge you can learn about the protection of sunscreen at the same time, making a fun sun print. Try this awesome STEAM activity to see the true power of the sun!

This Issue’s STEAM topic:

Exploring and observing the power of the sun and how sunscreen can protect us.

The mission:

Use your scientific and detective skills to figure out the best sunscreen to use to keep you safe while playing in the sun.

The challenge:

How does sunscreen actually keep the sun from burning our skin?

Materials you could use (but are not limited to):
  • Black paper
  • Sunscreen (multiple kinds if available)
  • Extra paper/stencils
  • Paintbrush (or use your fingers)
  • Sunshine!
Creating your project:

This challenge is very open ended as it can be applied whenever and wherever the materials are available.

To start this challenge, you will need to put sunscreen onto the black paper. How you can do this is by laying down a stencil or other paper on the black paper first and put the sunscreen over the top of the stencil or paper so that it gets onto the black paper. You can also do this by not laying down a stencil or other paper and just drawing with the sunscreen, a picture, shape or writing your name right onto the black paper. Once you have the sunscreen onto the black paper, place it outside, in the sunshine, and let it sit for most of the day. Then bring it back inside and look at the different colors in the black paper.

Questions to mull over:
  • What happened to the paper under the sunscreen?
  • What happened to the paper not under the sunscreen?
  • Did you use different sunscreens?
  • Would this happen when it was cloudy?
  • Would this happen in the winter?

The Family STEAM Challenge is all about experimenting with the ordinary to make the extraordinary! Chippewa Valley Family challenges your family to think and play together all in the name of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (that’s where the STEAM comes in).

Each challenge can be completed as a family or a group of friends in as little or as much time needed; however, most challenges can be completed within one sitting. The Family STEAM Challenge is also designed to get all ages involved through hands-on experimenting.

Thank you to Sarah McInnis with the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire for making this STEAM challenge possible!

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