In this fun STEM activity, children will design and build a structure to protect a model animal from the sun. Students first make an animal craft out of pipe cleaners and special beads. The beads originally appear to be white in color, but once they’re exposed to UV rays from the sun, they change colors! Next, students are given the challenge of using recyclables to create shelters for their sun-shy bead animals. Children then test out their shelters by taking them outside. If the beaded animal changes color, students know the shelter did not work and have the opportunity to make improvements.
- Pipe cleaners
- UV-Sensitive Beads
- Variety of recyclables (Popsicle Sticks, Egg Cartons, Foil, Fabric, etc…)
- Construction paper
- Googly Eyes (optional)
1. Start by building the pipe cleaner and pony bead animals.
2. Go outdoors and test out the color changing capability of the animal craft
3. Discuss the various ways in which humans protect themselves from the sun and brainstorm ideas to protect the animal craft from sunlight
4. Using the recyclable materials, design a shelter for the animal craft
5. Test the design by going outside
6. Make improvements to the parts of the design that didn’t work; retest the new design
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