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Learners experiment with a commercial photo-sensitive paper (Sunprint® or NaturePrint® paper). They place opaque and clear objects on the paper and expose it to bright light, observing the results. Chemicals in the paper react when exposed to light. No reaction occurs where opaque objects are placed on the paper and block the light. The light reactions stop when you rinse the paper with water. Sunprint® paper can use sunlight or artificial light. Use this activity to introduce learners to the chemical processes to develop blueprints, photographs, and photocopier pages as well as the process of photosynthesis in nature.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Sunlight and Color

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Nature and Environment
  • Photography and Film/Video
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation