Solar Oven S'mores

About the Experiment

In this activity, kids will learn about how engineers harness the power of solar energy. Kids will use tin foil to convert energy from the sun into conductive heat to cook s’mores in a cardboard box.

 

This activity requires access to an outdoor space. For optimal results try it when the sun is most intense. The higher angle the sun, the faster you get your s’more!

 

Grades: 3-5
Topic: Engineering
Estimated Time: 1 Hour

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Supplies

  • Small cardboard box with a lid, such as a pizza box
  • Tinfoil
  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sunlight
  • Pencil/stick or wood skewer
  • A very hot day
Solar oven s'mores activity

Activity Steps

  1. Take an empty pizza box and cover the base and lid with tin foil all the way around – depending on your pizza box and your foil, you may need tape to securely fasten the foil. Be careful to make as few wrinkles as possible. This will reflect the solar radiation into the box so the more concentrated the light, the better.
  2. Next, place the box outside. Ideally, try to place the box on a concrete surface like your driveway or sidewalk.
  3. Orient the solar cooker directly towards the sun so that there’s no shadow inside the cooker. The shadow of the cooker should be directly behind its back.
  1. Cover the opening of the box with plastic wrap; this will help keep the heat inside your solar box. Make sure that it is completely sealed.
  2. Use a pencil, stick or skewer to play with the position of the pizza box lid, you want to be using the lid to direct more sun rays directly into the pizza box. Take a look at the diagram to help determine the best position for the lid.
  3. Allow the box to “pre-heat” in this position for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the box is finished preheating, place your graham crackers, with marshmallows on top, inside the box and reposition the lid to catch those sun rays. (Don’t add the chocolate just yet!)
  5. Let the s’mores cook for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Once the marshmallows are soft, place the chocolate on top and reposition the lid for 5 more minutes.
  7. Finally, carefully remove the s’mores from the box and enjoy!
Two solar engineers inspecting solar panels

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