ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to make a S’more by using the sun’s energy.
What you need:
- Tin Foil
- Box with a lid or pizza box
- Plastic Wrap
- Black Construction Paper
- Exacto-Knife (if your box doesn’t have a lid. Ask a parent to use this)
- Graham Crackers
- Sunny Day
Take your box if it has a lid, start putting tin foil all over the inside of your box. Make sure the shiny side is up and even cover the lid. If you do not have a box with a lid, have a parent use a knife to cut a lid into your box and then cover the box in tin foil. You may need to use tape to attach the foil and smooth it out. Next, you want to fold a piece of black construction paper and stick that at the bottom of your box. Take the box outside and place it in an area that will get direct sunlight for a half an hour. This is like pre-heating an oven. Make sure the lid of the box is open, this is where you can use a skewer to keep it open. After a half an hour, place the graham crackers at the bottom of your oven and place marshmallows on top. Once you have everything situated, put plastic wrap over top of the box with the lid open. If there is a light breeze, you will have to tape the plastic wrap to the sides of the box so it doesn’t lift up. Make sure the lid stays open and leave it in direct sunlight for one to two hours. Open your plastic wrap up, and retrieve your now squishy marshmallows and graham crackers, add a piece of chocolate and another graham cracker to the top and enjoy your s’mores!
This works by using solar energy. What we made today is considered a solar oven, which uses the energy from the sun to cook food. The oven absorbs more heat than it releases. The sun’s rays come down to earth at an angle, and the rays will bounce off the tin foil and that reflects it, creating heat inside the box. It goes through the plastic wrap and it heats the air that is trapped inside. The plastic wrap also works as a barrier so the heat cannot escape back into the atmosphere. The black paper at the bottom absorbs the heat at the bottom and helps cook the food too!
The solar oven is just like the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Gasses in our atmosphere like water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane keep the sun’s heat trapped here on Earth. If these gases didn’t exist in our atmosphere, it would be to cold for us to live here on Earth!
Check out more Science with Shields episodes on WTAJ Plus.