Here Comes the Sun

Meteorological data from 1969 shows that London was bitter cold in February and March of that year. It also shows that in April, the same area set a record for 189 sunlight hours – not exceeded until 1984. This weather trivia syncs perfectly with the biography of Eric Clapton who describes Beatle, George Harrison wondering about in his garden with a guitar and composing a song. It was Here Comes the Sun.

NASA/Goddard/SDO

NASA/Goddard/SDO provided via Creative Commons 2.0

The irony of this memorable tune, is that it was not released as a single, hence ineligible to be included on the UK Singles Chart. Then, when the Singles Chart rules were modified in 2007, downloadable tunes became eligible. In 2010, Here Comes the Sun reached #58 on the chart. Do do do do.

Here in the Valley of the Sun, I cannot fathom the need to count sunlight hours. It is rather, the cloud cover and the related solar intermittency that must be carefully monitored. The power of the sun during daylight hours cannot be denied and as such, early education on the sun’s capacity is a perfect topic for a kids’ summer camp. This past week, my youngest son worked to build solar ovens for 5 year olds and also put together kits so that they can replicate the process in their own homes. Here’s how it went:

Pizza Box Solar Ovens
Modified from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbwliZJiHe8
Makes one

Ingredients:

  • Pizza box
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • A large clear Ziploc bag
  • Black construction paper
  • Straw
  •  Ruler
  • Marker or Sharpie
  • Box Cutters
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Clear tape

Directions:

Step 1: Close the pizza box. Using your ruler and a black marker, draw a square on the pizza box lid leaving a 1.5 inch border from the edge of the box to each side of the square.IMG_3494

Step 2: Carefully using the box cutters, cut through three sides of the square you just drew leaving the line at the rear of the box attached. Fold the flap back so that it stands up when the pizza box lid is closed.

Be Careful!

Be Careful!

Step 3: Glue a sheet of aluminum foil to the underside of the flap. This will reflect sunlight into the over. Cut off any excess and smooth out any wrinkles.

 

Step 4: Using the scissors, cut the Ziploc bag in half along the seams so that you have two clear plastic squares of the same size. They should be one square inch larger than the square opening. Open the pizza box and tape one square to the underside of the hole so that the plastic covers it.

Step 5: Close the lid and tape the second plastic square over the top of the hole creating a window that helps keep the sun’s heat in the box. Pull the plastic square taught as you tape it. Make sure the plastic maintains an airtight seal.IMG_3501

Step 6: Glue a sheet of aluminum foil to the inside bottom of the box for insulation.

Step 7: Cover the bottom foil layer with sheets of black construction paper and glue them into place. Black absorbs light and generates more heat inside your box.IMG_3504

Step 8: Close the lid and you are ready to start cooking. On a bright day, place your oven outside in direct sunlight. Adjust the foil flap to find the best ray reflecting angle. Use the straw to keep the flap propped in place.

Step 9: Preheat your oven by leaving it in direct sunlight for 30 minutes prior to using it. The box temperature will reach about 200 degrees. Put your food inside. This simple oven will be strong enough to melt cheese, warm up cold food, or melt chocolate.

Completed Solar Oven - Bring on the Snacks

Completed Solar Oven – Bring on the Snacks

Special shout out to Oregano’s Bistro and Basha’s Grocery for donating materials for this project.

Leave a comment

23 Comments

  1. Cool. Oops . . . I mean that’s HOT!

    Reply
  2. Very good directions. This is amazing!

    Reply
  3. Wow, this is amazing. We are in the throes of winter with not enough sunlight hours to heat our solar geyser.

    Reply
  4. That’s an excellent project. Your son would have learned so much from this experiment. I wish we had some sunshine hours to count – our winter is colder and more harsh than usual and it sure did arrive early xx

    Reply
  5. What a great project for the kids–and perfect for the Valley of the Sun. There are times that this would work well in Nashville. We are in a rainy spell right now, but that could soon shift.

    Reply
    • There are some folks who have heavy duty versions of these and my son is really intrigued. He’s thinking there is a pot roast in his future.

      Reply
  6. Lisa H

     /  June 2, 2015

    Both my kids made those for classes too (years ago now…). It is such a fun project and I love that all the materials are easy to acquire.

    Reply
    • The DBG has a camp focused on the sun. This is really too complex a craft to have all the little campers get through but we thought if they had a few examples already made up, then they could do it at home.

      Reply
  7. Wow! this is so cool! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  8. What a cool project fir your Son & for all of us! That is thumb’s up from me! 👍🏻

    Reply
  9. This Pizza box solar oven is a great idea, very innovative! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • I’ve checked out your terrific blog and this fits right in! Tiny house – big outdoors.

      Reply
  10. I kept expecting you to say that the box ignited. since you didn’t, this is a very, very neat idea! heard comes the Sun!!!

    Reply
    • Interesting. I hadn’t thought about that as a problem but perhaps under the right conditions…

      Reply
  11. What a fun project! It would only work in Wisconsin on a very unusual summer. My youngest will be heading off to ASU in August however.

    Reply

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