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Grade 6 Creates Solar Cookers from Cardboard and Tinfoil

George Marshall

Harnessing the power of the sun using cardboard and tinfoil, grade 6 students learned how to build sustainable solutions for impoverished communities with just a few household items.

As part of their energy unit in science class, grade 6 students were tasked with a real-world problem when learning about the principles of heat transfer: how to create an affordable and sustainable cooking solution for an impoverished community in Mali.

Students learned that solar cookers meet the criteria. They are simple and affordable to create and take advantage of the local conditions of the desert country. But for the solar cookers to be useful, they must be able to reach an internal temperature of 85°C

Using the design cycle, a student adjusts his solar cooker after evaluating the first results.

The design cycle process (imagine, investigate, plan, create, evaluate, and repeat) emphasizes iteration. Each group built a minimum of 3 iterations, gaining valuable insights and experimenting with shapes and materials to reach the required internal temperature.

Who doesn’t love s’mores at a cookout?

Finally, the solar cookers are put to the test in the sunniest spot on our campus - the middle school roof. A yummy "s'more," a melted chocolate marshmallow treat, is not just the reward for a well-built solar cooker, but also a delicious proof of concept for students!

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