Solar Oven Challenge

Grades 6-8
Subjects: Science, Technology

*French Resources Available As Attachments


In this challenge, students will design, build and test a solar oven to be used by NASA in an upcoming trip to the moon.

The moon does not have any wind but it does have an abundance of sunlight.  Harnessing that renewable resource will be essential to establishing a colony on the moon.

NB curricular outcomes

Science 6-8

  • Strand: Scientific Literacy – Big Idea: Investigation
  • Strand: Learning and Living Sustainably – Big Idea: Responsible and Sustainable Application

Technology 6-8

  • Strand: Design Thinking Skills – Big Idea: Problem Solving – Skill Descriptor: Plan, execute and present a project within given parameters and with assistance.

What you’ll need

  • Download “Solar Oven Challenge” and print one copy per team
  • General building supplies (tape, scissors, glue, etc)
  • Thermometer
  • Timers
  • Cardboard box
  • Aluminum pans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Black construction paper
  • One piece of plexiglass big enough to cover the box OR plastic wrap
  • Sunshine OR gooseneck lamp with 100W bulb
  • S’mores fixin’s (graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate)
  • Oven mitts


Activity 1: Design and Build a Solar Oven

Your mission is to design and build a solar oven to cook your own S’mores simply using a cardboard box and a few extra materials. Your solar oven must meet the following specifications:

  1. It must have a “footprint” of no more than 40 cm x 40 cm.
  2. In 10 minutes, the temperature inside the box must increase by 15oC
  3. You may use any available materials to line the bottom and inside of box.
  4. Your food may not touch the bottom of the oven directly. You must design a way to best cook 2 S’mores off of the bottom surface.
  5. You must cook the two S’mores at two different heights. You will also test which height allows food to cook at a faster rate.

Activity 2: Experiment and Record

Use the table included in the printed hand-outs to record any observations of your food while it is cooking. These observations will help to determine which food placement height allows for quicker cooking.

  1. Using the materials provided, build you solar oven based on your design. Remember the goal is to capture heat in your oven to cook S’mores.
  2. Record the starting temperature of the oven: _______________ oC
  3. Record the heights of the food from the oven floor: _____ cm _____ cm
  4. Place the S’mores in the oven. Close the lid and begin cooking.
  5. Record the temperature change in the table below. Make sure to use oven mitts when lifting the lid or manipulating anything inside the oven

Activity 3: Quality Assurance Form

Complete the quality assurance form included in the printed hand-outs. Students will be asked the following:

  • Team name
  • Names of engineers
  • Did the solar oven increase in temperature by more than 10oC?
  • Did this team’s design differ from your team’s design?
  • Did both S’mores melt?
  • Which height position worked best in this solar oven?
  • List the specific strengths of the design
  • List the specific weakness of the design
  • Inspected by
  • Signatures

Reflection Activity


NB Global Competencies


Activity downloaded from


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