Build a Pizza Box Solar Oven
This activity teaches students how to build their own solar oven out of a pizza box. This solar oven will get hot enough to warm up cookies and other treats!
For Canadian provinces and territories, use GreenLearning's re-energy.ca curriculum connections for renewable energy topics. You may need to register at GreenLearning (free of charge) to access the re-energy.ca teacher materials that include the curriculum connections.
Complete list of instructions can be accessed in the attached document. Instructions are simple, but teacher supervision is necessary depending on age.
Instructions for Students
1. Make sure the cardboard is folded into its box shape and closed.
2. Place the piece of notebook paper in the center of the lid of the box and trace
its outline on the lid. Put the piece of paper aside.
3. Carefully cut the two long edges and one of the short edges of the rectangle
that you just traced on the lid of the box, forming a flap of cardboard.
4. Gently fold the flap back along the uncut edge to form a crease.
5. Wrap the underside (inside) face of this flap with aluminum foil. Tape it on the other side so that the foil is held firmly. Try to keep the tape from showing on the foil side of the flap. The foil will help to reflect the sunlight into the box.
6. Open the box and place a piece of black construction paper in so it fits the
bottom of the box. This will help to absorb the sun's heat.
7. Close the box, roll up some newspaper, and fit it around the inside edges of the box. This is the insulation that helps hold in the sun's heat. It should be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Use tape to hold the newspaper in place, but only tape it to the bottom of the box, not the lid.
8. Cut two pieces of plastic wrap an inch larger than the flap opening on the box
top. Open the box again and tape one piece of plastic wrap to the underside of
the flap opening. After taping one side, BE SURE TO PULL THE PLASTIC WRAP
TIGHT, and tape down all four sides so the plastic is sealed against the
cardboard. Then close the box and tape the other piece of plastic wrap to the
top of the flap opening. Again, be sure the plastic wrap is tight and tape down
all four edges to form a seal. This creates a layer of air as insulation that helps keep the sun's heat in the box.
Finished building -- give it a try!
On a sunny day, pick a treat to warm up and carry it and the box outside to a sunny spot. If it's cold outside, put a towel or blanket under the box so the bottom doesn't get cold. Open the box, put the treat in the center, and close the box. Now open the flap and turn the box so the foil is facing the sun. The shadow of the flap should go straight back from the back of the box. Move the flap up and down and note how it reflects the sunlight. Use a dowel, ruler, or stick to prop up the flap so that it bounces the sunlight into the box.
Wait about a half hour for the box to warm up in the sun. Then enjoy your warmed-up treat!
• One pizza box from a local pizza delivery store. • Newspapers • Tape • Scissors • Black construction paper • Clear plastic wrap • Aluminum foil • A piece of notebook paper • A pencil or pen • A ruler or a wooden dowel or a stick
Source:US Department of Energy
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Science, Environmental Science,
Topic:Energy Generation, Renewable Energy,
Level:Primary / ElementaryIntermediate / MiddleSecondary
Grade:JKK 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Web Pages Used
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