Cooking With the Sun

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In this activity, learners build a simple solar oven out of household materials to melt chocolate and marshmallow between graham crackers--known as s'mores. This box and foil solar oven is a good introduction to solar energy and the greenhouse effect for learners. Includes step-by-step instructions, reflection questions, extension ideas, and a simple explanation of the greenhouse effect. An optional student observations worksheet within the activity guide is useful if leaners have access to a thermometer. A Spanish version of the activity is also available.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Pizza box or other small
  • shallow box with a lid
  • Dark construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tape
  • Glue stick
  • Ruler
  • Graham crackers
  • Chocolate
  • Marshmallows
  • (Optional) oven thermometer


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Food and Cooking


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Access Rights:

  • Free access



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