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Activities, Games, and More!

Solar Pizza Oven

This is a great way to see how the sun's rays can be turned into thermal energy, useful in our daily lives to cook food among many other things. This activity should be done on a sunny day to ensure that the oven cooks at or above 200 degrees. Take caution! It functions like a real oven, so don't touch!

You will need:

  1. Draw a one-inch border around the top of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving the line along the back of the box uncut.
  2. Form a flap by gently folding back the uncut line to form a crease.
  3. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit on the inside of the flap. Smooth out any wrinkles and glue into place.
  4. Measure a piece of plastic to fit over the opening you created by forming the flap. The plastic should be larger than the opening so that it can be taped to the underside of the box top. Be sure the plastic becomes a tightly sealed window so that the air cannot escape from the oven.
  5. Cut another piece of aluminum foil to line the inside of the pizza box and carefully glue into place.
  6. Cover the bottom with black construction paper and glue into place.
  7. Close the pizza box top with the window, and prop open the flap with the ruler you used to measure before. (A wooden dowel or straw may be used as well.)
  8. Adjust until the aluminum reflects the maximum sunlight through the window into the oven interior.

And enjoy your treats! Ovens will have to preheat about 30 minutes before cooking anything. You can heat up pizza, cook hot-dogs, and melt nachos, just to name a few! A SolarTown Kids favorite, though, is the Solar S'mores. 

s'moreSolar S'Mores

After your solar oven has preheated for about 30 minutes, place 4 squares of chocolate on each of the graham crackers. Top with marshmallows. Cover with remaining graham crackers to form sandwiches. Press to seal and wrap with foil. Place in oven. Bake until heated and chocolate begins to melt. Serve immediately.

Food for thought: Why is the inside of a solar oven black instead of white? This is because dark-colored objects absorb more light and store more head from the sun than light-colored objects. You'll notice this when the pavement is much hotter to your bare feet than the sidewalk on a very sunny day!



Solar-Powered Car 

This is a more advanced activity that uses the same photovoltaic technology as solar panels to convert solar energy into electricity. You can challenge yourself to build a solar car just for fun, but there are competitions that take solar cars more seriously. Check online to see if there are any races happening in your area and see if you measure up to the competition!

 You will need to order the materials to make your car from a kit like the one below.


6 Cent Battery

 When we use solar panels to produce electricity, we're helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus fighting global warming. But there is a problem: the sun doesn't shine all day and night. This is why batteries are very important. These are devices that let us store electricity so that we can use it whenever we want. Batteries let you use flashlights and phones without plugging them in! It's surprisingly easy to make a battery with the materials you already have! All you need is the following:

     - Paper towels

     - Equal number of nickels (or dimes) and pennies

     - Lemon juice

     - Tape

     - Two wires

     - An LED or Voltmeter to check if its working

Once you have gathered up these objects we're ready to get started. The nickle can be replaced by a dime.

  1. Clean all the coins
  2. Pour a small amount of lemon juice into a glass
  3. Cut the paper towel into small pieces that are slightly smaller than the nickel
  4. Tape one end of a wire to a nickel
  5. Take the other wire and tape one end to the penny
  6. Place the nickel on a table with the side taped to the wire facing down
  7. Wet a piece of paper towel in the lemon juice and place it on top of the nickel
  8. Place a penny on top of the paper towel (not the one taped to the wire)
  9. Cover the penny with a paper towel soaked in lemon juice
  10. Continue stacking the nickles and pennies until you have run out. Make sure that the last penny is the one with the wire attached and that the side taped to the wire is facing up
  11. Connect the wires to the voltmeter or LED to see the electricity you are producing at work!
  12. If you need some help, check out this Youtube video!







Solar panel illustration