Build your own Solar Oven (out of an old cooler)

Here is an easy and fun way to make a solar oven out of re-used materials. This one actually works!!!

Solar Oven program

The goal of solar ovens is for all students to walk away understanding how solar ovens use the greenhouse effect, (which they just learned about in the intro), to use the heat of the sun to heat their food.

  • Set up the “cooler” solar oven in advance, with something cooking in it. Have the kids try to guess what the outside temperature is and then point out the temperature on the thermometer of the solar oven.
  • Have the kids try to figure out all the different components of the solar oven based on what they learned earlier about the greenhouse effect.
  • Show the kids the resources that they have to work with- depending on the age group, give more or less information. With high school kids, just give them the resources and tell them they are in a design contest to design the most efficient oven- lets in and traps the most sunlight. A good clue is to remind them that the pizza boxes are insulated, so they should use that feature. With younger kids, I show them the example box that I already made and have them mimic it.
  • Cut a square hole into the top of the box, but leave 1 of the sides attached, so that you have a flap. Cover the flap with tin foil. Cover the window with the plastic binder sheet. Tape a piece of black construction paper to the inside bottom of the pizza box. Tada!
  • Have the kids set up the oven and make smores or mini pizza’s.

Some Jewish themes you can hit on:

  • Bal tashchit: The sun gives us abundant energy every day. So much in fact, that if we were to capture all of the energy that the sun gives us in one hour, it would provide the energy needs of the entire planet for one year. We simply do not have the technology to harness all of that energy. Instead, we use fossil fuels and other sources of energy. Our tradition encourages us to avoid wasting.
  • Chessed: The sefira of Chessed is about abundant giving. We must orient ourselves to be able to receive the blessings.

Have Fun!!!!!!!!!! Give Thanks!!

Jonathan Dubinsky

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