STEM & Maker Activity 35

Sun-Powered Oven
Supplies, instructions, resources, and worksheets are below!

Sun-Powered Oven

Project Description
In this STEM project, you’ll learn how the Sun provides energy and heat by making a Sun-Powered Oven. You’ll see how heat transfers through conduction by how well the oven is insulated and how well your oven absorbs solar radiation. You’ll get to test it out by baking some cookies!

Activity Time
1-2 days
Adult supervision required with cutting materials and using the oven

Supplies Recommended
Investigative Worksheet
1 piece of plexiglass about 1/4″ thick, cut to fit the dimensions of your oven. You can also use a plastic oven bag as an alternative, but it will have less insulation.
Scotch tape
Black Duct tape
Square black cooking pan that will fit in your oven
Card board box
Foam insulation such as Styrofoam
Aluminum foil
Utility knife (optional)
Black construction paper
Oven mitts
Cookie dough (or other food item)

Learning Objectives
Understand how the Sun provides solar radiation
Understand how the Sun’s energy is collected and stored
Improve design and critical thinking skills

Vocabulary Terms to Understand
Look up each word and write their definition on paper.
solar radiation
renewal energy
thermal conduction

Instructional Video:

1. Print the Investigative Worksheet.
2. Watch the Instructional Videos above for how to build your Sun-Powered Oven.
3. Read through the “More Resources” below.
4. Build your oven.
5. Let your built oven sit in the Sun for at least an hour so it can heat up.
6. Use the Investigative Worksheet to document your process and record your findings.
7. You can try cooking different foods in your oven to see how long different foods take to cook.

What is solar radiation?
What type of materials can be used to store energy from the Sun?
How hot did your oven get?
How would you design it differently to improve how it works?

More Resources
How does solar cooking work?
Britannica: Solar Oven
Principles of Solar Box Cooker Design
How to make a solar oven (alternative design)