Our Science and Outdoor Education teachers are bringing creative ideas to keep kids engaged and learning throughout the summer. This week, we’re learning about solar energy.

Behind all the clouds, the sun is still shining, and a perfect time to take advantage of the forecasted sun. Time to experiment with solar cooking! This activity could be especially fun over the holiday weekend!
I bet you’ve noticed that when you get in a car on a warm day, it can be warmer inside the car than the outside air. This is due to something called the greenhouse effect, the same thing that traps heat in a greenhouse and our atmosphere. A solar oven works the same way; visible light waves from the sun enter the oven through a clear glass or plastic top. Once inside, some of that light is absorbed and turned into heat (infrared). Infrared can’t escape back out through the plastic or glass, so over time, it gets warmer and warmer. A good reason why you should never leave a pet in a car on a sunny day!
Here are links to make two different solar ovens:
This one is made out of cardboard, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, tape, black paper, and newspaper.
And this one is made out of wood and glass and is a bit more of a commitment.
Here is a link to TONS of solar oven recipes. If this is your first adventure with solar cooking, I suggest trying dried fruit, granola bars, s’mores, or cookies (but you do you).
When finished, Explorer West students can post a short video to FlipGrid showing off your solar oven and what you cooked! If you’re not an Explorer West student, leave a comment or photo to show us your project!