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September 29, 2020

Turn Up the Heat and Cook with Solar Energy

Julie

new picture


We’re always looking for beneficial ways to use solar energy – whether that’s generating clean, sustainable energy or making delicious treats!

Who said roasting s’mores was just for the campfire? With a solar oven, you can use solar energy – light and heat emitted from the sun – to cook your food. This family-friendly activity is fun for everyone, and educational for children.

You will need to conduct this experiment on a warm, sunny day above 85 degrees – fortunately, that’s most days here in the Sunshine State.

Check out a full video demonstration on how to make your solar oven, or follow the below instructions.

You’ll need the following items to get started:

  • Cardboard pizza box
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors (with adult supervision and help)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pie plate
  • Tape
  • Black construction paper
  • Plastic wrap

Instructions

  1. On the top of the pizza box, use your marker to draw a square with edges spaced 1” from all sides of the box.
  2. Use scissors (with adult supervision and help) to cut along the sides and front edge of the lid, leaving the fourth side along the box’s hinge uncut.
  3. Use aluminum foil to cover the surface of the new flap you just cut, shiny side visible. This is to reflect sunlight into the box. Smooth out any wrinkles that might occur. If you want your s’mores to heat more quickly in the sun, feel free to cover the entire box with foil.
  4. Tape plastic wrap to the original box flap so that it covers the hole you cut into the flap, or if you covered the entire box with foil cover the bottom box part with plastic wrap. Seal all of the edges with tape.
  5. Press black construction paper to the bottom inside of the box. This will help absorb the incoming sunlight.
  6. Cover any air leaks around the box edges with tape, making sure that the box can still be opened to place food inside or remove it later.
  7. Go outside in the sunlight and place the solar oven on a level flat surface.
  8. Now it’s time to roast the s’mores! Cut the graham cracker in half and place the chocolate and marshmallows on top of half of a cracker.
  9. Place the prepared s’more on the aluminum pie plate and put it in your solar oven on top of the black sheet of paper.
  10. Put the solar oven outside where it will get full, direct sunlight for at least 30 minutes and keep it turned so that the flap faces the sun. When the marshmallow and chocolate are soft, it’s time to eat!

If you enjoyed making your solar oven, FPL’s online Energy Curriculum offers even more hands-on experiments, labs and activities for students and teachers to explore step-by-step lessons to foster knowledge and critical thinking skills.

This activity is just one way to see solar energy in action. You can also visit one of the 60+ locations right in your own backyard featuring unique solar trees and canopies to learn more about solar technology and witness the marvels of clean energy up close. As part of a commitment to drive awareness about the advantages of solar energy, the FPL SolarNow program transforms zoos, parks, museums and other local attractions into living classrooms to teach communities about renewable energy. Visit a location near you today!