Webquest Sun

Introduction | Task Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Credits | Teacher Page 


Congratulations!! You have graduated from medical school (IMSMART U), completed your family practice residency, and are ready to begin practice. You will be beginning your practice in cooperation with another doctor from your graduating class. You have decided to set up shop in the lovely town of Melanin Bay in the Sunshine state. Your practice will be associated with Hospital del Sol and your first order of business is the assignment of one of the following patient scenarios to demonstrate your medical knowledge to the entire hospital staff at the next monthly meeting. Your practice will need to produce two exhibits for your presentation. Good Luck!!

Your Task

Scenario 1 Finding Out About Self Tanners

Your patient, a 26 year old woman, hasn’t been able to get in the sun as much as she did as a teenager. She’s very self conscious about her veins in her skin and wants to know what she can do to make her skin look better. She has questions about sunless tanners, including:

  1. How do sunless tanners work?
  2. Do they change me permanently?
  3. What is the chemical involved?
  4. Is it safe?
  5. What precautions do I have to take when I go to a spray tan place?
  6. Will it protect me from sunburn? Will it protect me from cancer?
  7. Will it cause cancer?
  8. What does SPF mean?
  9. Are there different colors for different skin tones?
  10. What’s the difference between water-based and oil based tanners?


LAB INVESTIGATIONS – Analysis of Sunscreens; Sunscreen Survey

Scenario 2 – Holy moley, I’ve got moles

Your 9 year old patient, Tim, comes in with his dad.  They both have many questions about Tim’s skin. 

  1. What is the difference between freckles and moles? 
  2. Are all moles cancer?  Will all moles turn into cancer? 
  3. He has a mole on his eyelid.  Will sunglasses keep it from turning into cancer?
  4. What causes a mole to turn cancerous?
  5.  What does my son need to look for if his moles change? 
  6. Am I born with all the moles I’ll ever get?  If not, when will I probably stop getting them? 
  7. Will my moles ever go away on their own? 
  8. How can I get rid of them if I don’t like the way they look or feel against my clothes?
  9. When I go out, I put on sunscreen right before exposure (so it lasts longer) – but I still get burned.  Why is that the case?
  10. What does SPF mean?


LAB INVESTIGATIONS – Transmission of UV rays through Sunglasses; Mole Charting worksheet

Scenario 3 – Tell me about tanning beds

A teen magazine publisher comes to you for a consultation about tanning beds.  She wants to know if she should publish ads for tanning booths.  They have presented data showing that it is safer than being in the sun.

  1. They say we don’t need to wear goggles because the beds are safe.  Is this true?
  2. Are they really safer than the sun?  How can that be?
  3. What causes the tan from the lights (how are the tubes different from household lights)?
  4. What are the types of UV radiation?  What are the wavelength  breakdowns? Which is the most dangerous? Why?
  5. tudents don’t like tan lines.  Do those tan-through swimsuits work?
  6. Will tanning beds affect the way the students age?
  7. Should they use sunscreen in the beds?  Is there a preferred type?  What does SPF mean?
  8. What’s up with the tan accelerators? How do they work?
  9. Do they clean the beds or does the UV light kill microbes?
  10. If students burn is it different from a sunburn? 

LAB INVESTIGATIONS – UV Transmittance of Various Fabrics; UV Radiation Effects on Bacteria

 Scenario 4 – Soccer Mom

A very active soccer mom comes to your office.  At the age of 45, she has been a lifeguard, is an avid skier, mountain biker and gardener.  She noticed the texture of her skin has become less soft.  She also has an increase in dark pigmentation on her skin.  She is wondering what she can do to improve the overall quality of her skin.

  1. Why is my skin different than when I was 17?
  2. What is the dark pigmentation?  What caused it?
  3. I used baby oil as sunscreen when I was younger.  What SPF does it have?
  4. When I was lifeguard, I had the 3 to 8 shift.  Should I have used sunblock then?
  5. My son’s a golfer.  He’s a redhead with a fair complexion.  What do you recommend that he does to protect himself?
  6. I’ve heard about those UV blocking shirts.  How well do those work?
  7. I use face moisturizer with SPF of 15 under my foundation which has an SPF of 18.  Is this enough protection for the day?
  8. My twin sister (the indoor one) seems to have fewer wrinkles than I do.  What is the reason? I’m only out for a half an hour at a time.  Does this make a difference?
  9. I have been trying to garden more on cloudy days – do I still need to wear sunscreen? 
  10. What does SPF mean?    

 LAB INVESTIGATIONS - UV Transmittance of Various Fabrics; Length of Time Exposed to UV Rays (beads or paper)

 Scenario 5 –  Son of the Sun

A young man who comes from a family with a history of skin cancer comes to see you for a consultation.   His mother has gone in for preventative treatment (PDT) and he is concerned with his predisposition and wonders what actions he can take.

  1. What are the three skin cancer types?
  2. How are the skin cancers different from each other?
  3. What is the most common type of skin cancer and is it the most dangerous?
  4. How are the types of skin cancer treated medically? 
  5. What are the chances of skin cancer reoccurrence?
  6. Is there genetic link to any of the cancers?
  7. I have been told to monitor any moles on my body.  Why is this?  What should I look for when it comes to moles (not the chemistry moles or the ones in your yard).
  8. Will all of these moles become cancerous?
  9. What is the treatment that my mother has gone through?  How does it help prevent skin cancer?
  10. What does SPF mean? 

LAB INVESTIGATIONS - Analysis of Sunscreens; Sunscreen Survey

Scenario 6 -  Baby Fun in the Sun

A couple with a new blonde baby girl (2 months old) come in to ask how they can best protect their baby from the sun.  

  1. Should we use a sunscreen specific to newborns and infants?
  2. Are all of the commercial sunscreens available safe for our daughter?
  3. We have only SPF 15 at home – could we just apply it three times so that it is equal to SPF 45?
  4. Should we put sunglasses on our baby?  
  5. We had some old sunscreen in the trunk and used it.  Did that protect all of us?
  6. If our baby gets a severe sunburn, does that affect our baby’s chances of getting skin cancer later in her life?
  7. Our daughter constantly is pulling off her hat.  Is there a spray of some sort that would protect her scalp?
  8. Isn’t the sun good for our skin?
  9. Are there types of clothing that we could buy to protect her better when we take her on a walk?
  10. If we go to the beach and it is cloudy – does that matter? 

LAB INVESTIGATIONS - Transmission of UV rays through Sunglasses; Length of Time Exposed to UV Rays (beads or paper)


You and a partner will produce two of the following exhibits to show what you’ve learned by doing this project:  (all scenarios require the 10 questions to be answered)

  1. a print advertisement for a public awareness campaign on skin cancer prevention in the form of a poster (standard posterboard size)
  2. a TV commercial (video) for a public awareness campaign on skin cancer prevention.  It needs to be about two minutes long
  3. a pamphlet for your office explaining the dangers and methods for protection
  4. a consumer reports article explaining the different types of protection available
  5. a powerpoint presentation covering the dangers of sun exposure 


RUBRIC – 100 points                                     



10 points


8 points


6 points


4 points


0 points

UV/Vis Laboratory completed (data graphed, results analyzed, and questions answered)






Second Lab Assignment












All 10 questions answered






Information presented in logical, thought-          provoking manner






Information is accurate






Sources are identified












All 10 questions answered






Information presented in logical, thought-          provoking manner






Information is accurate






Sources are identified








Teacher Page

Students may have incorrect assumptions, such as the idea that doubling their SPF 15 sunscreen will provide them with twice as much protection, making it like an SPF 30.  According to “Good Health Today” from St. Francis Hospital, Summer 2006, An SPF sunscreen will filter roughly 92% of UV-B rays.  Using an SPF 30 sunscreen will block about 97% of the same rays.  SPF does not indicate the fraction of UV-A rays that can be blocked, and these are the rays that lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.  In the same article, it quoted the statistic that fair skinned people using SPF 30 sunscreen developed 2.5 times fewer sunburn cells compared to when they used an SPF 15.


Lab integration and webquest developed by Darlene Seifert and Sarah Chattin