Science Experiments at Home: How to Make a Solar Oven
This simple science experiment yields delicious results. With a pizza box, some tin foil, and plastic wrap, you can harness the sun’s power to cook up a storm. Solar ovens are the perfect way to spend a sunny day and sneak a little science in at the same time.
One of our 64 Easy Science Experiments for Kids, solar ovens are a great way to get first-hand experience working with thermal energy while repurposing some trash from pizza night.
You Will Need:
- 1 large pizza box
- Plastic wrap
- Aluminum foil
- Black construction paper
- Bamboo skewer
Step 1: Prepare the Box
Measure 1 inch from the front and sides of your pizza box, and cut the three sides to create a flap in your pizza oven; do not cut along the back. Once you have cut the three sides, gently bend the pizza box to create a flap and a window at the top of the box.
Step 2: Line Oven Flap With Foil
Cover the inside of the cardboard flap with the aluminum foil. Try to make it as smooth as you can.
Step 3: Cover the Inside With Foil
Cover the inside of the pizza box with aluminum foil.
Step 4: Create a Window
Cover the window you created with plastic wrap, using tape to hold it in place.
Step 5: Prep the Cooking Surface
Position the black sheet of construction paper in the pizza box under the window and tape in place.
Step 6: Set Up Your Pizza Oven
Use the bamboo skewer to hold the flap open. Angle the flap toward the sun to maximize your oven’s cooking potential.
Step 7: Get Cooking!
We placed “raw” s’mores on the black construction paper and let them sit in the sun for a little bit. The tinfoil flap reflects the sun's rays into the pizza box. The plastic wrap window works like a greenhouse and traps the heat. You can tweak your solar oven to perfect it and make it even better. Experiment by changing the angle of the flap, or trying different ingredients to see what cooks fastest. What else you can cook? Cookies, popcorn, and grilled cheese are great places to start. Once you get the swing of things, you can make fresh nachos, English muffin pizzas, or even quesadillas!