Free technology for teachers: Science fun in the sun

I write this to give it a cloudy and relatively cold June here in Maine. The sun will return and with it some opportunities for fun outdoor learning activities. One such activity is to build a solar stove and try to cook something like s’mores in it. 4H offers free instructions on how to do this. One of the things I like about 4H’s instructions for building a solar oven is that at the end of the instructions there is a knowledge comprehension test and a discussion question for the students.

Over the years I have shared other sets for making solar ovens. Here is a brief description of those resources.

NASA provides two sets of detailed, written directions for the construction of solar ovens. This set of instructions (link opens a PDF) was created for 7th to 9th grade students. This set of instructions for building a solar oven (link opens a PDF) was written for students in grades 6 through 8, and students tried to create a smoker with their oven.
Cooking With ‘Sol (link opens a PDF) was published by the US Department of Energy. It was written to follow the instructions for making a solar oven for students in grades 5 through 8.
DIY Sun Science is a free iPad app from The Lawrence Hall of Science. The app has hands-on reading directions about the sun. Lessons are a mix of activities that students can do on their own and that they should do under the supervision of adults. Ordinary household items are used in all activities. Some of the activities you’ll find at DIY Sun Science include measuring the sun, building a UV detector, detecting solar storms, and cooking with a solar oven.

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