I'm trying to help my 5th grade daughter with her science fair project. She wants to test that water heats up more on a sunny day than a cloudy day.

To help her, I'm trying to figure out how to block a lot visible light but allow IR and UV through.

I know I could use smoke or dust, but can't figure out how to contain it for an experiment.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Earth Science. I find that the kids who truly develop confidence and curiosity in science are the ones who have toiled through the process of coming up with their own solutions to experimental design. I would suggest pointing her in the right direction, but letting her do the background reading and even making calls to scientists to field questions and bounce ideas off of. Ultimately, if she devises her methods she will understand the process better and feel empowered by the knowledge that it was her work and ingenuity that brought this project to fruition. $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Apr 21, 2016 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I know your right. Maybe I'm being too geeky about the experiment being controlled. She understands that there are too many variables in play if she does the experiment on different days (my fault), that's why I was try to simulate clouds...so we could do the experiment on a sunny day and just control the amount of non-visible light that gets thru $\endgroup$
    – Iunknown
    Apr 21, 2016 at 3:39
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    $\begingroup$ I think doing your proposed simulation would add more variables than just doing it on different days (at a similar air temperature). $\endgroup$ Apr 21, 2016 at 12:03
  • $\begingroup$ Have you considered using types of photo/telescope filters? $\endgroup$
    – user967
    Apr 21, 2016 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


My suggestion would be to use shade cloth. You can get it in different densities and different colours. I know this is not the same as clouds, but get her to think about what the differences are and how that might affect the results. If I were a judge I would be very impressed to see a section like that on the poster.


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