Solar Oven Experiment #1593


#1

This is a discussion for the Solar Oven Experiment. Feel free to connect with the Learning Team here, or to discuss experiment tips, ask questions, leave comments or suggest experiment variations here.
solaroventn


#2

Hi,
Unfortunately, it’s snowing out now, and weather for the rest of week is definitely not conducive for solar ovens! I do have heat transfer in my curriculum in May/June, and can definitely use this experiment then.


#3

We study solar energy, both thermal energy and photovoltaic cells, during the last quarter. We actually build solar ovens during our study. In the past we have used digital thermometers to measure the temp inside of the oven while making smores. I really like the team role breakdown and physical computing side of this approach, where there is a tech engineer who builds and codes. This year’s study will have an important dynamic!

One of the best variables applied in our experiment is the volume of the oven. Students track the time it takes their oven to reach maximum temperature, or which heats faster, or cooks faster, etc.


#4
  1. This lesson doesn’t fit directly into any of my course curriculum other than a fun way for students to plan out and conduct a science investigation to analyze data and practice the engineering design method. I may try this with my investigation science class at the beginning of the school year when there are plenty of sunny days. Unfortunately, the weather this time of year in Utah, is not very conducive for cooking with a solar oven outdoors. :grin: I’m going to try this with some lamps we have in the science lab.

  2. Parts of the lesson where my students may need extra support in order to be successful include having the appropriate materials and making sure they are familiar with the code. Also, providing enough time to adequately design, test, and redesign their oven if I use this for an engineering design process lesson.

  3. A successful teacher actively engages students in dialogue to check for understanding, prevent any mishaps, and encourage rethinking and redesign when the project isn’t going the way the student envisioned or has hit a roadblock. The teacher also fosters critical thinking skills through the design process and encourages real world applications so students see relevancy in the work they are doing.

  4. A successful student uses the data and evidence to reengineer their design and critically assesses how they can improve the form and function of their design. They also take time to make those improvements and don’t give up the first time around or settle for mediocrity.

ALSO- I appreciate that Because Learning! has included wiring diagrams for the older kits. I spent thousands of dollars on the Ardusat kits just a few years ago (2015!) and was devastated to see everything had changed. This is helpful for schools that cannot simply buy new materials every time something is updated- because with technology that happens often!


#5

@ArdusatExplorer-4758 Yes Jessie! The transition from digital thermometers to computerized data that can be analyzed will make all the difference in how my students use the data to improve their designs. Great point!


#6

Well, I won’t be using the sun this week - here in Wisconsin we are looking at -33 windchill tomorrow so, even though there is a little sun, I’m not going outside!

I have built pizza ovens before and usually do this in the fall (where it is more likely to get enough sun) as an engineering challenge, but I also use this in our Unit on Light - talking about light as wave. I LOVE the idea of actually collecting data over time. That is great!!!

Students can work on this independently and would likely only need minimal assistance with collecting the data (assuming that this is not the first time they are using the kits).

I LOVE the phenomenon that were shared during the webinar! Thank you!!!


#7

Stay inside and warm, Kathy!


#8

I agree about collecting data over time. It could even be done without the solar oven, just taking a reading from your classroom window throughout the year to look for the change in the suns radiation as the seasons change.


#9

That’s a great idea - easy to do! We also have a number of hydroponic systems that I was thinking it would be great to get readings from for both temperature and luminosity.


#10

Great idea! I have a team of students who monitor and track plants we grow under heat lamps/grow lights during the year. I want to get some hydroponic systems as well, and students could use this kit to monitor temperature and other data in both systems.


#11

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
It is pretty easy to place any type of energy transfer into our curriculum because of the 6-8 grade block in NGSS. Solar energy is an awesome part of our schedule during the last month of school. So many opportunities for PBL, speaking with professionals, and student inquiry. This lesson fits right in with our curriculum plan where students build their own solar oven, monitor the temp, and can now measure other things like luminosity.
Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
Students would need extra support in areas of coding and placing the sensors. Some students may also need direction during inquiry and finding credible information.
If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
I would act as a facilitator in this lesson, providing key moments for inquiry and expansion of mindset. A successful teacher would monitor student groups to ensure students are maintaining predictions and continuing a path forward. Teachers should be asking prompting questions so students remain curious, while maintaining an inquiry mindset.
If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
Students would play an exploratory role during this lesson. Student success would be understanding how to apply variables, constants, and how to conduct an experiment while keeping it organized and recorded. More specifically, I believe being able to move forward through adverse times.


#12

Loving these ideas flowing here … use for monitoring sun radiation over the seasons and hydroponic systems!! Please let me know if I can help setting something custom up.


#13

Happy that you are finding wiring diagrams for older kits, we work hard to make sure hardware can last and is as backwards compatible as possible. Please let me know if you run into any issues with new lesson not working with older kits. The only major missing option is if you don’t have the OLED display that we started adding to the kit 2018. I can create a 30% discount code for you (or any current customer that’s reading) … Just e-mail me at kevin@becauselearning.com . Understand funding can be tight, I will keep this option open to add a few to your classroom when the time may be right for you. Thanks!


#14

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)?
This lesson got me thinking about one of our engineering standards that involves designing or judging a device that can slow or change the rate of a phase change. I think this lesson can be modified to fit this nicely. We could see who can melt an ice block the fastest or boil a small amount of water the fastest. The sensor kit works great and is easy to set up and read. I had fun with the code a little as I added three LED (green, yellow, and red) and two more alarm thresholds to get the light to light up in sequence. Green was safe temp, yellow was approaching “danger”, and red when it got too hot.
Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
I like the resources included with this lesson. This lesson is well laid our with visual instructions and models. I think having one simple pre-made example to look at along with the video and text would be enough for most students to be able to successfully complete this lesson.
If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
Provide time and resources and get out of the way. I think this would be a highly engaged class session. There is reading, discussing, building, data collection, graph interpretation, and conclusions. Plus the possibility of going outside!
If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
As mentioned above there are several different instructional activities in this lesson that will make it both rigorous and engaging for the students. I think this would be one they would enjoy greatly, remember fondly, and learn a lot from.

Our only challenge here in Cache valley is timing. Sometimes we go weeks without seeing much sun. This lesson feels like it could be modified to accommodate a variety of conditions. I am excited to try a few variations of this in the coming months.


#15

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum (if the lesson is not a fit for the class you teach, how could the lesson be modified so that it is applicable to your curriculum)? I will be able to use this lesson as an enrichment, and definitely during the summer when we have STEM camp. It usually gets so hot here, that people have tried to bake cookies on their dash, and actually fry eggs on the pavement. So to see how fast certain foods would cook is interesting.

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
I think this would be a great hands on activity, and as long as they use pot holders so they don’t burn themselves, and some type of tongs to pick up the food.
If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson? I would make sure that they use safe food handling practices, as well as purchase the supplies, and facilitate the lesson while they have to create and design the ovens.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like? Students will be innovaters in this lesson. I can not wait to try it!


#16

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
I love this lesson. This lesson fits in perfectly with my curriculum. I teach forms of energy including solar energy. My students always build a solar oven and we cook Smores. This will be a wonderful addition to that lesson!

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
I think my students will be able to accomplish this lesson completely on their own.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
My role would be to make sure the students don’t burn themselves completely this activity. I will also make sure all students are actively engaged during the activity and provide supplies…

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
In this lesson, the students will take an active role in their own learning. They should be able to complete all components on their own. They will be able to build their own solar oven and gather the data themselves.


#17

great idea about the volume of the oven. I also teach thermal energy in my classroom.


#18

Love this experiment, mainly because it goes along with something that I have been doing for the past few years with my students. We learn about solar energy, convection, and conduction. In the past my students have also had to build their own solar ovens. We have tried to cook smores and grilled cheese sandwiches. In the past I always just gave them pieces of cardboard and the other supplies and they had to actually build it from scratch, no pizza box. For this experiment, I actually got a pizza box. Also, FYI, since I will be doing this again when it gets warmer I asked the pizza place if they would donate boxes for a class project and they did. When I did this it was 61 degrees outside and the temp is dropping. I started it around 10:00 since I was trying to hit the warm part of the day in the next few hours. This experiment was a bust for me today only because the outside temp is so cold. I know it would work though if it was warmer. We did other things like put it by the fire and blew on the sensor just to see the data collection. I can’t wait to do this though with my students, as I have never been able to accurately know who’s solar oven was better at conducting and building up heat. I will be using the sensors this year to have them collect data. Also, on a side note we have a solar panel on our roof for water and the temp read 122 degrees. I didn’t put the pizza oven up there though. :slight_smile:


#19

I love the addition of the light sensors for specific temperature ranges.


#20

Where does this lesson fit in with your curriculum?
At this time of year … nope. However, as we start the year and talk about the history of technology, I’m sure I’d be able to fit it, or something similar, into the curriculum…

Which part or parts of the lesson would your students need extra support in order to be successful?
It’s pretty straightforward but sometimes students need help assembling things properly. We would also need to review simple geometry to help them determine optimal angles for the sun’s rays etc.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your role during the class. What does a successful teacher actively do during this lesson?
I would provide the initial direction, purpose of the lesson and then let the students decide on the final design specifications.

If you were to teach this lesson to your class, describe your student’s role during the class. What does “student success” look like?
Students would be the final designers, testers and sharers. Actually being able to cook something would be test of success, but it would also be interesting to see students go further by making the oven more durable, portable and perhaps with increased capacity. I’d like to see them compare the success of smaller ovens to that of larger ovens and then determine what creates the differences, in any.