Summer time is a great time to teach youth about solar energy!
Use s’mores to teach your kids about two different types of energy: kinetic and radiation. Kinetic energy is energy in motion. Radiation is energy made through electromagnetic waves. Heat and light waves penetrate food without direct contact between the heat source and the food. Solar ovens, toaster ovens and microwaves are all methods of radiation cooking.
To make the solar oven like you see below, get a pizza box and follow these steps:
- Line the inside of the box with foil.
- Make an opening on the top of the box by cutting three sides leaving the other side attached so it flaps open.
- Cover the opening with clear plastic wrap.
- Assemble your s’more (see tips below).
- Close the lid of the box and raise the foil covered flap.
- Make sure the sun is reflecting onto the oven opening.
Remember to orient your box according the time and sun location. For example, if it’s late afternoon and the sun is on your right, you must be facing south. You would want to turn your oven so the reflective waves would be heating up your oven in more of a westerly direction.
Hints and Tips
- Place the graham cracker and marshmallow in the oven first.
- Add the chocolate once the marshmallow is partially cooked. (Otherwise, the chocolate will be liquid by the time the marshmallow is melted).
- Speed up the process by preheating your oven.
- Give yourself time and other activities to keep the group entertained. It took the group pictured above about an hour to have the tasty treat!
Want more science tips and ideas?
For more information about how 4-H incorporates science into learning, contact your local extension office.