Investigating Passive Solar Ovens

Energy ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Recycled Aluminum Foil, Bioplastic Sheets & Tape

ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon


GATHER Energy Investigations


REASON Investigating Passive Solar Ovens

EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience

If the pavement is > 158 degrees you can cook an egg on the sidewalk. But what can you do if it’s not that hot? Students willparticipate in a “solar cooking race” and try to build a solar oven with the highest temperature in a set amount of time. Recycle an old container to serve as the solar oven, line the bottom and sides with colored paper or foil, create a platform or container for food, and consider whether to cover the top to focus the sun’s rays.


Students should be able to provide the rationale for design choices in their solar ovens (such as color of lining to absorb heat; material to conduct or redirect radiation; presence of a cover to focus rays or create a greenhouse effect; use of insulation; circulation for convection; etc.)


Students will adopt a penguin- shaped ice cube and attempt to keep it “alive” for the longest time, by designing and building an insulated “igloo” where it can stay solid.


After building their own solar ovens, students may research classic designs including the Purple Fig, the Darfur Refuge Camp model, and 6 Other Solar Cookers, incorporating elements into a rebuild of their own solar cooker and re-testing of its efficiency.



After making sense of a core idea by engaging in science or engineering practices through the lens of crosscutting concepts, students revise their original explanations of a phenomenon.


Students can explore Nova Energy Lab and Habitable Planet’s Interactive Energy Lab to conduct simulations regarding the transition to renewable energy.