*Individual Memberships available at Discovery Place Science and Discovery Place Nature only. **Family Museum Memberships at Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham are $130 ***Guest passes are available for Family Memberships only.
DIY Solar Oven
Solar ovens use solar energy to cook food. Solar energy is light and heat that is emitted from the sun. Solar energy can even be used to pasteurize water or be used to sterilize a wide variety of items.
A solar oven catches sunlight by using a reflector and reflecting the light onto a black surface. The black surface transforms the light into the heat which is then trapped in the upside-down glass bowl.
The solar oven cooks food slowly on a low heat over a long period of time. A solar oven can reach about 200°F on a sunny day. While this method takes longer than a normal oven, it's functional, easy to use and is safe to leave alone while energy from the sun cooks your food!
While using your solar oven think about how the weather outside effects your oven's performance. How well does it perform on a warm day versus a hot day? How does your solar oven compare to a real oven? What variables can you tweak to make your solar oven perform better?
Safety precaution: This is an experimental activity; solar cooked food should be eaten with care. Solar ovens do get hot, please always supervise young children.
- Pringles can
- Scissors or box cutters
- Large glass bowl
- Black construction paper
- Oven mitts
Building your Solar Oven:
- Using scissors or box cutters cut a flap on the side of your can.
- Cut along 3 sides
- We cut the Nutrition label and that seemed a good size.
- Fold the flap back so that it stands up
- Cover the inside of the flap using aluminum foil to reflect the rays from the sun. Use tape to secure the foil to the flap. With a Pringles can it is already reflective on the inside, this is just for extra precaution.
- Prop the flap open.
- Place a sheet of black construction paper inside the can (Possibly cover the top with plastic wrap)
- If you have a second thermometer place it outside your solar oven so you can compare the two temperatures.
Extra experiment - Rainbow Crayons
- Old crayons
- Silicon cupcake liners
- Break up some old crayons and place assorted colors into the silicon cupcake liners.
- Place into the Solar oven until melted.
- Some larger chunks may not melt and that is ok!
- Take crayons out of the Solar Oven and let cool.
- Once hardened remove from silicon liners and color away!