Solar Energy: Cooking in the Sun
This TechXcite: Discover Engineering! module introduces kids to the direct use of solar thermal energy through the design of a solar oven. Finding ways to use energy more efficiently will be an important part of engineering in the 21st century. Solar thermal energy is used in solar ovens, passive solar architecture, and to generate electricity in some applications. In this module, kids do some initial experiments to explore heat transfer through radiation and conduction. Then, they learn how to locate the sun in the sky by finding the solar angle and solar azimuth at a particular time during the day. They then utilize this knowledge to design and build a solar oven.
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Additional Resources click items below to expand
This fact-filled website contains recipes to use with solar ovens, a multimedia link that has photographs and videos, basic information about solar ovens (including frequently asked questions) and information about other technologies related to solar ovens. Also, this website includes news articles, such as how solar ovens are currently being used in Haiti.
Another great website for investigating current news stories related to solar ovens, solar cooking basics and in-depth information, recipes, and information about how other parts of the world are involved in solar cooking.
This link provides information about the history of solar ovens, types of solar ovens and different design styles, and a long list of great references.
This site provides definitions and also quick, simple explorations you can do in your kitchen to help you understand conduction and insulation.
This site provides definitions of conduction, insulation, and radiation.
This is another site that provides definitions. This site also includes a table of materials commonly used in home construction and their R-values (R values are used to determine insulation capability).
General Solar Energy
What ways can you use the sun's energy? This article discusses three interesting and important applications that use the sun's energy: solar hot water, solar thermal electricity, and solar cells. Historical information and great images/diagrams are included in the article.
When and how was the sun's energy first used? What are the advantages of using solar energy and what is involved in capturing the sun's energy? These questions and more are answered in this interesting and straightforward article. Also included is a solar map of the United States, which shows how much energy from the sun each part of the country receives.
This article provides definitions and background information about solar energy. Also, it includes information about the solar energy research that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is conducting (passive solar design, solar water heating, solar process heating and cooling, photovoltaic research, concentrating solar power research).
This is a fantastic website to learn about the latest technology, events, and news involving solar energy. It includes links to news stories and articles, videos, images, and book references.
This website is a vast resource of solar energy information including a forum, additional resource links, information about outreach programs, and photographs.
This is great website that includes fun facts and games/activities about solar energy and other forms of energy. Also, it includes information on how energy is used and helpful tips in conserving energy.
This is a link to the American Solar Energy Society.
This curriculum is currently being piloted and has not been approved by National 4-H Council. If you have suggestions or would like more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.