Nothing inspires kids into taking interest on any subject than letting them have a hands-on experience in the process of learning. A simple solar oven construction is just the ideal experiment to teach children about solar energy. The materials needed are cheap and the procedure is straight forward. The guidance of an adult may be required especially when cutting the materials into different sizes and shapes. By the end of the exercise kids will appreciate the working of a solar cooker and benefits of solar energy. Help them gather the following materials first:
• A long, narrow rectangular box with an attached lid. A pizza or shoe box will do.
• Aluminum foil.
• Plastic wrapper.
• Adhesive tape.
• A knife.
• A piece of black cloth or Construction paper.
The oven is ideal for outside cooking therefore the guide should chose a sunny day for the construction. Kids should choose the kind of meal they want to cook. A hotdog or any other easy to cook snack is recommended. Explain one step at time and let them do it before proceeding to the next stage.
1. Cut a hole on the top of the box using the knife. The hole should be slightly smaller than the top cover of the box. This will leave an inch or two on the edges of the top of box.
2. Open up the lid of the box and line up the inside of the box with the aluminum foil. The foil receives and amplifies the sunlight providing the heat needed to cook food.
3. A piece of black construction paper can be placed on the bottom of the inside of the box. This will absorb the heat and retain it in the oven.
4. Put the snack inside the box which is aluminum foil covered. Close the box with its lid. Take the plastic wrapper and cover the hole made earlier on top of the box. The wrapper will hold back the heat generated in the oven. The wrapper should be clear to enable the kids peep into the oven as the food is cooked.
5. Put the oven out in the sun and watch your meal cook from the hole on top of the box. The cooking may take sometime depending on sunshine available.
6. Caution should be taken while using the knife as the oven can get quite hot.
To ensure the concept is well engrained in their mind, propose for a solar oven making contest. Kids can choose different boxes and cook different snacks.