Build Your Own Solar Oven

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Learners follow directions to construct a solar oven that really cooks! The solar oven uses aluminum foil to reflect sunlight into a cooking chamber, which is painted black. The black surface absorbs the sunlight and produces heat which can be used to bake brownies, cookies, vegetables, or even warm soups and pizza. Use this activity to introduce learners to renewable energy and the Sun as a source of energy. Main webpage includes links to other related resources. Note: Solar ovens can get very hot. Oven mitts or gloves and adult supervision required.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
2 to 4 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Corrugated cardboard (large flat sheets from appliance boxes work best)
  • Duct tape
  • Black tempera paint, powdered
  • White glue
  • Plastic container, approximately 500 ml
  • Oven thermometer
  • Aluminum foil (45.7 cm by 7.6 m roll)
  • 1 Large aluminum foil cake tin (15 cm by 30 cm by 8 cm deep)
  • 1 Large (turkey- sized) transparent oven bag
  • Shredded paper (for insulation)
  • Cardboard box (with flaps, approximately 25 cm by 35 cm by 16 cm deep)
  • Plastic spoon
  • Utility knife
  • Meter stick or metric tape measure
  • Felt tip marker
  • Sunglasses
  • Paint brush, 3- to 5 cm wide
  • Oven mitts
  • Food to bake or reheat (brownies, cookies, pizza, etc.)
  • Adult help


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Environmental Engineering
    • Technology
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • Energy
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
    • Light and Optics
      • Lenses and Mirrors
      • Reflection and Refraction
      • Sunlight and Color
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Technology and the Environment

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities