The earth benefits from being located in the “Goldilocks Zone” in our solar system. Not too warm, not too cold. Just right for living things to exist here. This is not to say that the energy from the sun isn’t “hot”. If you have ever walked barefoot on a sidewalk in the summer time, you know this to be true. The infrared wavelengths that carry heat energy do get hot enough to cook with, if they are captured correctly.
The greenhouse effect is probably something you have heard of when our globally warming climate is discussed. In the global sense, “greenhouse gases” are the clear gases that permit the sun’s energy to enter the atmosphere, but prevent it from escaping back into space. The more often these energy waves bounce off of objects the warmer they get. This effect also happens in your car as energy passes through the clear windows, getting trapped inside.
In this activity you will construct a solar oven and cook a summertime favorite snack – s’mores!
There are many possible designs for a solar oven. The key is to collect solar waves and reflect them into the space where the cooking is to take place. In your solar oven, being able to allow the infrared waves to pass through something clear and become trapped in the oven is the same greenhouse effect discussed above.
If you place an oven thermometer inside. You will be able to quantify the temperature or know exactly how hot your oven can get, if you wish to try to cook something requiring higher
temperatures than s’mores.
To earn credit for this activity, post a selfie with your oven and the cooked s’mores dessert. Yum!
NASA’s BEST Solar Oven: https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/435855main_BuildaSolarOven_6to8.pdf
Climate Kids s’mores, NASA https://climatekids.nasa.gov/smores/
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