Teach your students about solar heating power with this fun and educational solar oven activity. via perkins
Use a pizza box to make a solar oven that gets hot enough to cook s’mores! Energy can be tricky to teach – it is not something that our students can hold in their hand to explore. The best way to approach the concept is through meaningful hands-on projects that engage students on a concrete level. Solar energy is a good place to start because it provides instant sensory feedback. You can experience the warmth and brightness of the sun by simply going outdoors. Using a pizza box to make a solar oven is a tangible way to demonstrate how energy from the sun can be used for cooking – and best of all, you get to eat the s’mores!
Here are directions for constructing a solar oven out of a pizza box (adapted from Family Fun Magazine), with suggestions on how to adapt the activity to varying skill levels. You might decide to start with pre-constructed solar ovens. We sometimes think that students need to actively – and independently – participate in each step of an activity to make it meaningful. While this is a noble idea, using a motivating activity for its parts is just as valuable. Construct enough solar ovens as you need to work in pairs, small groups, or individually.
For each solar oven you will need:
A pizza box
A craft knife or scissors, ruler and marker
One sheet of Black construction paper
Clear plastic (use sheet protectors)
Clear plastic packing tape
Graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows
A stick (for propping the flap open)
Latex gloves if preparing for others
Cut a square along three sides of the top of the pizza box, leaving a one-inch border. Leave the backside of the square intact to make a flap.
Note: Parents or staff should do the cutting in advance for safety reasons.
Fold the cardboard up along the uncut line of the square to form a flap.
Wrap the bottom side of the flap in aluminum foil, shiny side out. Keep it as wrinkle free as you can.
Place a piece of pre-cut foil (shiny side up) on the inside bottom of the pizza box.
Place one sheet of pre-cut black construction paper on top of the foil.
Tape clear plastic (or sheet protectors) to the underside of the lid to seal the opening created by the flap. Make it as airtight as possible.
August is Back to School Month here at Adafruit! Each day we’ll be bringing you a post for educators on the blog. Stay tuned for product guides, tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System, and inspiration from around the web! Get started by checking out Adafruit’s educational resources, such as our kits and project packs, suggested products for young engineers, and an extensive selection of books to help you learn!
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