Did you know that your kids can build their own solar oven out of pizza boxes? It's true! What's more, there is loads to be learned about the concentration of the sun's energy and you can all enjoy a tasty treat at the end of the process: Solar Oven S'mores! Here is how we made these tasty s'mores and learned about Reflection, Absorption, and Convection.
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Materials Needed for a Solar Oven
- Cardboard Pizza Box
- Scissors or Box Cutter (with adult supervision)
- Aluminum Foil
- Clear Tape
- Black Construction Paper
- Plastic Wrap
- Dish or Pie Plate (we left off this step and had no problems)
- Cooking Ingredients for S'mores (Graham Crackers, Chocolate Bars, Large Marshmallows)
We started by using our ruler to measure a square on the top of the pizza box 1 inch from the edges. Our son used the scissors to cut three of the four side of the square out. I helped him at the corners, but he did the rest of the cutting himself.
He made a crease along the uncut side of the square to create the flap that stands up. Then he taped aluminum foil to the inner side of this flap. The aluminum foil acts as a reflector by reflecting the sun's light and heat into the solar oven.
He placed black construction paper inside solar oven to absorb the light and heat being reflected into it by the aluminum foil.
With mine and Papa's help (because plastic wrap is evil and only wants to stick to itself) our son taped plastic wrap to the inside edges of the square window that he had cut out...did I mention that plastic wrap is evil or that it didn't help that the wind started to blow at this point! I LOATHE plastic wrap! However, once it was securely in place it did it's job of preventing convection i.e. the transfer or escape of warmed air/heat in the solar oven.
When we had our solar oven complete we were ready to make our s'mores. The best time to use your solar oven is between 11am and 2pm. This is when the sun is at it's hottest! I was excited to have found a gluten free graham cracker, but the kids were more excited about the bars of chocolate!
We laid the graham crackers on the black paper (as we had forgotten our plates) than placed a large marshmallow on each graham cracker. Then we topped them off with three pieces of chocolate. The chocolate also acts as an absorber of heat because of its dark color!
Then we waited for the sun and our solar oven to do their work. We checked on our s'mores every thirty minutes and we thrilled at the transformation we saw in the marshmallows and chocolate as they started to melt. It took about 2 hours for the marshmallows to become ooey gooey.
Perfection! Ooey Gooey Perfection! Our solar oven s'mores were ridiculously delicious. Seriously, this stuff was fantastic! In fact we enjoyed them so much that we are making them again tomorrow!