How to make an easy solar oven

I’ve always wanted to try a solar oven, so when the UK was unusually hot over Summer we gave it a go.

How to make an easy solar oven

  • Cardboard box – like a pizza box
  • Aluminium foil
  • Matte lack paper or card
  • Clingfilm
  • Food – not raw meat – we used marshmallows
  • Plate

Instructions

Cover the inside of the box lid with foil and the bottom with matte black card.

Place your food on a plate in the base of the box

Position the box so it faces the sun, adjusting the lid so the light is reflected onto the food. Fix the lid at this position with tape, a tack or stick.

Cover the food base with clingfilm to keep your food clean.

How to make a solar oven

 

After about 30 minutes our marshmallows had melted enough to squish between some biscuits.

How to make a solar oven

Why does this work?

The matte black paper absorbs the heat while solar radiation from the sun is reflected from the aluminium foil onto the food.

We tried a different activity with crayons and left one crayon in the sun on a shiny metal plate and one on a plastic plate. The crayon on the metal plate melted fastest. Why do you think this is?

solar radiation experiment

Extension activities

Does the food heat up faster if you use a matte black plate rather than a white plate? Why do you think this would be?

This activity is great for:

Key stage 1 and 2 Design and Technology

Improving skills, knowledge and understanding of an iterative design process.

Design

Allowing children to design a purposeful, functional and appealing product for themselves and others.

Generating and developing ideas

Make

Selecting appropriate tools and equipment.

Explore

Exploring the best location and structure of the oven for it’s purpose.

Testing their ideas.

Using mechanisms such as hinges.

 

solar-oven

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