Solar Oven (Part 1/2)

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SWBAT design, create, and build a solar oven using everyday materials. SWBAT keep heat in a solar oven to cook food.

Big Idea

Use the power of the Sun to bake food. The energy from the sun is powerful and free. No fuel necessary. Go "green!"

Bell Ringer - Engineering Design Process

5 minutes

The Engineering Design Process

To begin the lesson, I ask students to have a two minute discussion with their partner(s) about two (2) important questions. These questions will get them thinking about the lesson objective. I ask the questions:

What is the engineering design process? Some answers include: It's a process engineers go through to build something. It's a process that starts with a question to figure out an answer.

How can we use the EDP today in class? Some answers include: You go through each step of the EDP and plan your work. I'll use the EDP to plan with my partner and build my solar oven.

Then, I ask students to take 2 minutes to Turn and Talk with their partner. "This strategy permits all students to participate in discussion, rather than only a few students participating in a class-wide discussion. All students are able to process new learning while engaging in meaningful conversation with a classmate." From the free website TeacherToolKit

By asking students to implement the Engineering Design Process (EDP), they will go through the (EDP) steps as they work through the process. As a class, review this EDP, reinforce that it is iterative, and bring students back to the EDP chart during their work.

Build A Solar Oven

35 minutes

Build A Solar Oven

Essential Question: How do Earth, Sun, and Moon affect my life?

This lesson uses concepts from the lesson What is energy?  where I want students to gain background knowledge about the transfer of heat energy and then apply that knowledge to designing, creating, and building a solar oven. 

I present student groups with an engineering design challenge. Students reference the essential question and the EDP (Engineering Design Process) as they work through this challenge. For this Solar Oven Challenge, I provide a uniform set of materials for each student group and a worksheet with a target and 4 diagrams which illustrates a basic outline of a model of a solar oven. 

There are several goals (standards) that are addressed in this Solar Oven Challenge such as (SP#2) develop and use a model of a solar oven. The model is used to develop questions (SP#1), make predictions, and analyze flaws in the system (solar oven). Students (SP#3) plan and carry out an investigation collaboratively to understand the essential question and collect data (effectiveness/results) from using a solar oven. During the challenge, students (SP#8) obtain, evaluate, and communicate information by describing the parts and function of a solar oven and how the oven keeps heat in to cook food. This skill (SP#8) is a critical professional activity.

The NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts are weaved into this experience as well. CCC#2 cause and effect because events such as sunrise and sunset have causes and effects. CCC#5 energy and matter because the sun's energy flows (radiation) and CCC#6 structure and function because the shape and materials used for a solar oven relate to its effectiveness.

Students Talking About Making A Solar Oven