In this activity, students will learn about using the Sun’s energy to meet our needs. They will be introduced to concepts around solar energy needed for solar cooking (heat) – dark colours for absorbing sunlight, greenhouse effect, light colours for reflecting sunlight and insulation. Using this science knowledge, they will then construct and use a solar oven.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • explain how solar energy can be used for cooking.
  • explain the principles of solar cooking (dark coloured objects absorb sunlight, double glazing traps and helps retain heat (a greenhouse effect), light coloured objects and shiny surfaces reflect sunlight, insulation slows heat energy transfer)
  • construct a solar oven
  • use the Sun to obtain maximum heating (setting the reflector to reflect sunlight into the oven and positioning the oven to face the Sun throughout the cooking time).

Download the Word file for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • instructions on what you need and what to do
  • student instructions for making a solar oven
  • extension ideas.

It is ideal for students to complete the activities in Using heat energy to gain a good understanding of the principles involved to successfully complete this activity. Teachers should also read the article Using solar energy for a more complete understanding.

Nature of science

Science is strongly linked with technology. Technologists need to understand science ideas and concepts to be able to use them to make things that are useful for people. Solar ovens are useful in hot countries where there is little or no electricity supply.

Useful link

Find out more about solar ovens, this article has information on different types, uses and more useful links.

    Published 9 August 2010