October 19, 2021
Middle School Science Shines a Light on UV Rays with Local Dermatologist
In Sharon Migdal’s Form 2 science class, students have been researching UV light as they begin to design experiments to test different UV protectant products, utilizing the scientific method to fuel their research. This included testing different UV protectant products including clothing and sunscreen to see which were the most effective. As an added layer to the project, Dr. Pennoyer, a local renowned dermatologist, as well as a KO parent and former student, came into Migdal’s class to give the students a presentation about the effects of UV light on their skin. She helped them examine what it is and how the deteriorating ozone layer is largely impacting the increase in the number of harmful rays reaching us.
“This means for me in my business that skincare issues have skyrocketed,” Pennoyer explained to the students. “Because the sun is so much stronger and the rays are getting to us more.”
Pennoyer walked students through the dermis, epidermis, and an explanation of the different skin layers and how these rays affect each one. She then showed all the different types of damage that ultraviolet light can do to skin and what she and her team can do to repair the damage. She also illustrated different kinds of skin conditions she treats as part of her practice. As a fun and very hands-on addition to the project, Pennoyer let the students use a blue light machine to see any sun damage on their own face.
Migdal said, “It was neat for the kids to see that this isn’t just something I am teaching them in class, that there are people out there that do this for a living.”
For their own experiments, there was a range of innovative projects students chose to explore. Some used UV beads that changed color when they were hit by UV light. Others tested to see if the various shapes of sunglasses offer more protection than others. Others tested to see the best way to apply sunscreen for the maximum effect and looked at different brands comparing them against one another for potency and efficiency.