Harness the Heat: Make Your Own Solar Oven!

16 08 2012

How do solar ovens work? Well, as you can tell from your day-to-day observations, the sun not only provides light, but also works as a heat source.  That’s why it’s warmer during the day, when the sun is out, than it is at night, when the moon is up.  With a solar oven, you use reflectors (aluminum foil) to reflect the sun’s light into a closed container and the heat is trapped inside.  With this heat, you can cook some really great snacks!

If you do make a solar oven, remember that the oven can get very hot (just like ovens in kitchens), so you should be very careful when using the oven. Heat-resistant cloths or hand covers are great ways to protect yourself from the heat.

To make your own solar oven, you will need the following materials:

- a pizza box

- aluminum foil

- plastic wrap

- tape

- pen or pencil

- scissors

- ruler

First take your pizza box and draw a square around the lid of the pizza box about two inches from the edges.  Cut along only three edges: the front and sides of the pizza box.  Do not cut the fourth side that runs along the back of the pizza box.

 

Fold along the uncut line so that you form a flap.  After folding the flap back, wrap it in a piece of aluminum foil and tape it down.  Make sure that the shiny side is facing out and that there are no wrinkles in the foil.

 

Next, open up the pizza box and cover the insides with foil.  Make sure to cover the bottom and the sides of the pizza box.  Have the shiny side of the foil face up and overlap the pieces to cover any gaps. Tape into place.

 

While the pizza box is open, we’re going to cover the hole made by the foil-covered flap with plastic wrap.  Before cutting a piece of plastic wrap, you can tape down one side and then unroll the plastic wrap across the hole.  Make sure the plastic wrap is the right size and that it is taped down tightly so that no air can get out.

After these steps, you’ve completed your solar oven!

 

Click for more to see how to make some yummy food with your new solar oven!

Now it’s time to make some delicious snacks! I decided to make some s’mores. You can make others snacks, like a grilled cheese sandwich.

To make s’mores, you will need:

- a paper plate

- graham crackers

- chocolate pieces

- marshmallows

Place the paper plate in the center of the oven.  I put a marshmallow on one piece of graham cracker and a piece of chocolate on another.  Close the oven, open the flap and set the box in direct sunlight with the flap propped open with a ruler and facing the sun.

You can place a thermometer in the solar oven to check the temperature.  Your food should cook in 30 minutes to an hour.  I cooked mine for an hour.  When taking your food out, make sure to avoid touching the foil or have protective wear to cover your hands.

Here’s a picture of my delicious s’more!

Did you make a solar oven? What snack did you cook with it?

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