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published by the The Pembina Institute
This page features a classroom project for secondary science education that integrates engineering design with optics and thermodynamics. Students work on teams to construct a solar oven with flat reflector panels. The project was designed to help learners understand that, to harness the sun as a source of energy, solar energy must be converted from visible light into heat or electricity. The construction kit calls for simple materials such as cardboard and duct tape, and includes a downloadable pattern for building the oven.  Background information gives student and teacher support on the subject of solar heat and its applications. Registered teacher-users also have access to supporting lesson plans.

This resource is part of a larger collection of hands-on projects and teaching materials on the topic of renewable energy.
Editor's Note: Although this resource is designated for use in Grades 6-12, the reading level for the student guide is Grade 9, and for background information is Grade 10. Overall, the concepts are appropriate for the cognitive level of Grades 7-8, but teacher scaffolding may be needed for unfamiliar vocabulary. High school students should be expected to complete the activity with minimal scaffolding.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Work and Energy
- General
- Geometrical Optics
= Reflection - Flat Surfaces
Other Sciences
- Environmental Science
Thermo & Stat Mech
- First Law
= Heat Transfer
- Thermal Properties of Matter
= Temperature
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Laboratory
= Project
= Student Guide
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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© 2007 GreenLearning Canada
Additional information is available.
clean energy, clean energy project, energy sources, green energy, renewable energy, solar energy, solar energy, solar heat, solar oven
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 25, 2007 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 27, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 1, 2007
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M2. Energy can be transferred from one system to another (or from a system to its environment) in different ways: 1) thermally, when a warmer object is in contact with a cooler one; 2) mechanically, when two objects push or pull on each other over a distance; 3) electrically, when an electrical source such as a battery or generator is connected in a complete circuit to an electrical device; or 4) by electromagnetic waves.
  • 6-8: 4E/M3. Thermal energy is transferred through a material by the collisions of atoms within the material. Over time, the thermal energy tends to spread out through a material and from one material to another if they are in contact. Thermal energy can also be transferred by means of currents in air, water, or other fluids. In addition, some thermal energy in all materials is transformed into light energy and radiated into the environment by electromagnetic waves; that light energy can be transformed back into thermal energy when the electromagnetic waves strike another material. As a result, a material tends to cool down unless some other form of energy is converted to thermal energy in the material.
  • 6-8: 4E/M6. Light and other electromagnetic waves can warm objects. How much an object's temperature increases depends on how intense the light striking its surface is, how long the light shines on the object, and how much of the light is absorbed.
4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
  • 6-8: 4F/M6. Light acts like a wave in many ways. And waves can explain how light behaves.

8. The Designed World

8C. Energy Sources and Use
  • 3-5: 8C/E2. Sunlight is used to run many devices.
  • 6-8: 8C/M2. Different ways of obtaining, transforming, and distributing energy have different environmental consequences.
  • 6-8: 8C/M5. Energy from the sun (and the wind and water energy derived from it) is available indefinitely. Because the transfer of energy from these resources is weak and variable, systems are needed to collect and concentrate the energy.
  • 9-12: 8C/H8. Sunlight is the ultimate source of most of the energy we use. The energy in fossil fuels such as oil and coal comes from energy that plants captured from the sun long ago.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.
  • 9-12: 12C/H1. Follow instructions in manuals or seek help from an experienced user to learn how to operate new mechanical or electrical devices.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 6-8: 12D/M9. Prepare a visual presentation to aid in explaining procedures or ideas.
  • 9-12: 12D/H7. Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral, written, and visual presentations.

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.9-10.9 Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9—10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

This resource is part of 3 Physics Front Topical Units.

Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Energy Forms and Sources

The sun is the ultimate renewable energy source. This page provides step-by-step directions for constructing a solar oven using simple, easily-obtained materials. It includes a pattern for building the oven, detailed background information, and construction plans for student use.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Conservation of Energy
Unit Title: Renewable Energy Sources

The sun is the ultimate renewable energy source. This page provides step-by-step directions for constructing a solar oven that really cooks --  using simple, easily-obtained materials. Includes pattern for building the oven, detailed background information, and construction plans for student use.

Link to Unit:

Topic: Heat and Temperature
Unit Title: The Relationship Between Heat and Temperature

The sun is the ultimate renewable energy source. This page provides step-by-step directions for constructing a solar oven using simple, easily-obtained materials. It includes a pattern for building the oven, detailed background information, and construction plans for student use.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(The Pembina Institute, Calgary, 2007), WWW Document, (http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven).
Build a Solar Oven (The Pembina Institute, Calgary, 2007), <http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven>.
APA Format
Build a Solar Oven. (2007, January 1). Retrieved June 21, 2024, from The Pembina Institute: http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven
Chicago Format
The Pembina Institute. Build a Solar Oven. Calgary: The Pembina Institute, January 1, 2007. http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven (accessed 21 June 2024).
MLA Format
Build a Solar Oven. Calgary: The Pembina Institute, 2007. 1 Jan. 2007. 21 June 2024 <http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Build a Solar Oven}, Publisher = {The Pembina Institute}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {21 June 2024}, Month = {January 1, 2007}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T Build a Solar Oven %D January 1, 2007 %I The Pembina Institute %C Calgary %U http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D January 1, 2007 %T Build a Solar Oven %I The Pembina Institute %V 2024 %N 21 June 2024 %8 January 1, 2007 %9 text/html %U http://www.re-energy.ca/solar-oven

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