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Making a Solar Oven

NEED, Department of Energy

This activity from the Department of Energy provides background information about solar ovens and instructions on building a simple model solar cooker.

Activity takes about one 45- to 60-minute period to build cooker; more time needed to use and experiment with it. Additional materials required.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • A great way of introducing solutions while exploring the science of the first Climate Literacy Principle: The Sun is the primary source of energy for Earth's climate system: http://cleanet.org/clean/literacy/index.html.
  • A discussion about renewable energies and the use of solar in different part of the world will be a logical follow-up to this activity.
  • Use an overhead projector to trace out the pattern provided.
  • Create reading guide for passage provided.
  • Have students carry out modifications to provided design and challenge them to optimize their cookers.

About the Content

  • Reading passage explains the basics of a solar cooker and goes into detail about how they can be used by people all over the world - including developing countries and the military.
  • This description of a solar oven stresses the concept of reflectivity and absorption. However the term albedo is not introduced.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Provides instructions for building a simple solar cooker, but the teacher will have to provide context for the activity and use of the cooker.
  • Also investigate other solar oven designs: http://solarcooking.org/plans/
  • The more sophisticated and durable, the more likely the cookers will actually be used more than once.
  • Engaging to build a solar oven and very instructive to see how well they work.
  • Students of different learning types will be engaged in this activity.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • No picture is included of a final oven. It will be helpful to see a model version of the oven that is to be built.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

If you'd like to explore more solar cooking with your solar oven, here is a guide to cooking with a solar oven including some recipes: https://solarpower.guide/cooking-with-solar-energy
Entered the Collection: November 2011 Last Reviewed: June 2016

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