Solar Energy

Solar Energy

There are two videos to choose from to learn about solar energy.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You may see two other videos that are a deeper dive into solar energy. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project.

Take A Deeper Dive!

Activities

Make A Solar Updraft Tower

This tower uses the heat from the sun to make a wheel spin. Watch as Jessi and Squeeks make one, then try it at home.

What you need:

  • 3 tin cans with the tops and bottoms cut off
  • Tape
  • Wire (like a paperclip)
  • Thumb tacks (drawing pins)
  • 2 books that are about the same size (They need to be pretty thick books)
  • Square paper with each side about 15cm or 6in long
  • A Sunny day

What to do:

  1. Stack up the cans and tape them together really well.
  2. Bend the wire or paperclip into an arch shape.
  3. Tape the wire to the top of the cans.
  4. Attach the thumb tack to the top of the wire arch with tape.
  5. Now, fold the pinwheel.
    1. Cut diagonally from the corners. Don’t cut the middle of the paper.
    2. Once all the corners are cut, fold them and tape them together in the center. (Watch the video to see how this is done.)
  6. Stick the pinwheel onto the pointy end of the tack.
  7. Straddle the tower on top of the two books so there is a gap at the bottom between the books and under the tower.
  8. Set the whole thing near a window where there is direct sunlight.
  9. Be patient and check on your tower every now and then.
  10. After a while the hot air rising in the tower will make the pinwheel spin.

Record your findings and upload them to your portfolio.

Build a Pizza Box Solar Oven

Watch the video to see how to build a pizza box solar oven. 

If you like to have written instructions, visit the Science Buddies website for a list of materials and instructions directly from Teisha Rowland at ScienceBuddies.org, the makers of the video. 

Take a photo of your activity and write something to explain what you did. Then upload your photo and your explanation to your portfolio.

Draw a Solar Panel

You may want to use a ruler or another straight object for this drawing. You may also choose to use a technical drawing tool app.

Once you have completed your drawing, take a picture of it and upload it to your portfolio.

Project

Design Your Own Solar Oven

Visit this science fair project from ScienceBuddies.org. Here you will find multiple sources of information to learn more about solar cooking, a list of materials, and detailed procedures for making two ovens to compare. 

The objective of the project, as written on the website above, is to “follow simple instructions to build a box solar oven from materials like cardboard boxes and aluminum foil and then improve on the design to build a second, more efficient oven.”

If you made the oven in the Activity above, this is a great way to build on what you learnt – can you make it more efficient, or simpler to make and use?

To complete your project, communicate your results in a report or display board. Upload it to your portfolio.

Advanced Project

Explore Related Professions

ScienceBuddies.org lists these careers related to solar energy. Look around these sites and further research careers that interest you related to this field.

Solar Energy Systems Engineer

Environmental Engineer 

Environmental Engineering Technician 

Solar Photovoltaic Installer 

Consider, compare and contrast these careers. Communicate your findings in a report, slideshow, or other relevant way. Upload the information to your portfolio.

Books

Read Aloud Book(s)

Iqbal and his Ingenious Idea

Running on Sunshine