Who needs a fancy kitchen when the sun can do the cooking for you? This easy and fun activity lets you harness the power of the sun to create a tasty treat. It’s a fantastic way to learn about science while having a blast in your backyard.
What You Need
• A cardboard box (like a pizza box)
• Aluminum foil
• Matte black construction paper
• Clingfilm (plastic wrap)
• Marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers (or other food, but avoid raw meat)
Solar Oven Fun
1. Prep the Box: Line the inside of the box lid with aluminum foil, shiny side up. This will reflect the sunlight. Cover the bottom of the box with matte black paper, which will absorb the heat.
2. Set Up Your Food: Place graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows (or chosen food) inside the box. You may want to experiment with and without a plate.
3. Catch the Sun: Position the box so it faces the sun. Adjust the lid so it reflects the sunlight directly onto the food.
4. Cover and Cook: You may want to cover the inside base of the box with clingfilm to keep your food clean. Wait for about 20 minutes, and voilà, your s’mores will be ready.
Solar Science in Action
As your solar oven cooks your food, it’s also teaching you some cool science principles:
• Heat Absorption: The matte black paper absorbs the heat, helping to cook your food.
• Reflection: The aluminum foil reflects sunlight onto the food, increasing the temperature.
• Conduction: The heat is transferred from the foil to the food, just like in a real oven.
Extra Experiments
Want to take your solar cooking to the next level? Try these fun experiments:
• Crayon Meltdown: Place a crayon on a shiny metal plate and another on a plastic plate. Which one melts faster? Why do you think that is?
• Plate Colors: Does food heat up faster on a black plate or a white plate? Why?
• Design Upgrades: Think about how you could improve your solar oven. Maybe a hinge for the lid or extra insulation?
In the intense sunshine of the Valley summer, your solar oven will work wonders. So, gather your materials and let the sun turn your backyard into a fun and educational cooking adventure. Enjoy your delicious solar-cooked creations!