Science in Sweatpants: Solar Oven S'mores

S’mores and summer go hand-in-hand but did you know you can harness the power of the sun to make this sweet summertime treat? You only need a few things to make this experiment successful so let’s get started!

Here's what you'll need:

  • pizza box
  • black construction paper
  • white glue
  • aluminum foil
  • plastic wrap
  • clear tape
  • skewers or dowels to prop the box open with
  • utility knife and an adult to use it

Using your utility knife, cut a line into the top of the box approximately one inch from the edge. Do this on every side except the side with the hinge of the box. 

Next you'll cover that cut out piece with foil. 

Glue black construction paper to the bottom of your pizza box. Then you'll tape plastic wrap across the underside of the pizza box's lid. 

Assemble your s'mores on the black construction paper and you're ready to go outside. 

Place your pizza-box solar oven outside in direct sunlight on a warm, sunny afternoon. Prop the foil covered piece open using your skewer and make sure the foil lid reflects light into your box. 

For best results you might want to tape up any loose sides of the box so the hot air can't escape.

 You'll leave the box alone for about and hour. To make this extra science-y, grab a thermometer and measure your box's temp every 10 minutes.

What's going on here? 

Visible sunlight passes through the plastic wrap and gets trapped in the oven. The construction paper absorbs the light and transfers it to thermal energy, or heat, which then warms up our box and helps to cook our s’mores. 

My solar oven was outside for about 30 minutes right around lunch time and got hotter than 150° F!

The s’mores aren’t as crispy as they would be if you made them by a campfire but they’re still ooey and gooey and ready to be eaten. Have fun and enjoy your s'mores!

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