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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Make a Solar Oven

Lesson Description:
solaroven Students will be able to...
  • Describe thermal energy in relation to heat.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a working solar oven design.
  • Develop and implement a design for a solar oven.
  • Explain the principles behind their design concept in a written format.



Lesson Type:
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy

GEF Program Category:
  • Green Energy Challenge

Time Needed:
60-90 minutes
Standards Addressed:
Science Standard 9: Understand the sources and properties of energy.
  • Benchmark # 4: Know how the sun acts as a major source of energy for changes on the earth’s surface (i.e., the sun loses energy by emitting light; some of this light is transferred to the earth in a range of wavelengths including visible light, infrared radiation, and ultraviolet radiation).
  • Benchmark # 11: Understand the origins and environmental impacts of renewable (e.g., solar energy) and non-renewable resources, including energy sources like fossil fuels (e.g., oil, coal, natural gas).

Science Standard 12: Understand the nature of scientific inquiry.
  • Benchmark # 3: Design and conduct a scientific investigation (e.g., formulate hypotheses, design and execute investigations, interpret data, synthesize evidence into explanations).
  • Benchmark # 6: Use tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret scientific data.

Technology Standard 4: Understand the nature of technological design.
  • Benchmark # 4: Design a solution or product, (e.g., solar oven) taking into account needs and constraints (e.g., time, properties of materials, safety).
  • Benchmark # 5: Implement a proposed design (e.g., organizes materials and resources, plans work, chooses suitable tools and techniques).
  • Benchmark # 6: Evaluate the ability of a technological design to meet criteria established in the original purpose (e.g., consider the factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users) suggest improvements, and try proposed modifications.

Geography Standard 16: Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources.
  • Benchmark # 7: Understand how the development and widespread use of alternative energy sources (e.g., solar, wind thermal) might have an impact on societies (in terms of, e.g., air and water quality, existing energy industries, manufacturing processes).

Geography Standard 18: Understand global development and environmental issues.
  • Benchmark # 1: Understand how the interaction between physical systems and human systems affects the current conditions on earth (e.g., relationships involved in economic, political, social, and environmental changes; geographic impact of using solar power as a major energy source).

Language Arts Standard 1: Use the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
  • Benchmark # 14: Write technical text (e.g., identifies essential steps in a logical sequence; list materials equipment needed; describe all factors and variables that need to be considered; use appropriate formatting).

Materials Needed:
  • Pizza boxes
  • Wax paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Construction paper
  • Clear packing tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Dowel 
  • Thermometer
  • "Pizza Oven Box Directions" worksheet provided below 
  • Science Journal 

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
service@greeneducationfoundation.org
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf SolarOven.pdf

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Center for Green Schools