Science of Heat – Pizza Box Ovens!

Science class in the English Program is always a place of discovery and excitement.  Here we take science to a tangible level by performing numerous academic, yet fun, experiments. Every unit we teach is made more cohesive through hands on learning activities that really solidify the topic for the students. This not only brings science alive in the classroom, but it also allows the topics to be brought back home for further discussion, as the students share their experiments with their families. These experiments create a lasting memory, one which translates to the knowledge of scientific principles. This week in Mattayom 1 to compliment our ‘Heat’ unit we constructed solar ovens using pizza boxes!

Throughout the previous week we had been learning about heat absorption, radiation, and reflection, and what a better way to see these properties in action then to use them to make lunch! Each student was to bring a piece of foodthat could be cooked, like cheese on bread for example.

The students then constructed the ovens by cutting flaps in the tops of the boxes and coving the surface with tin foil. They then covered the flap opening with transparent plastic, and covered the bottom surface of the box with more tin foil and black construction paper. Each student demonstrated the properties of heat utilized in the “oven” before we put them to use. With the plastic sealed correctly, and the box closed tightly, on a sunny day the boxes could get up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to cook an egg! Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us as we paraded outside to test our ovens. The sky was fairly overcast, providing not enough sun to fully heat the boxes and cook the food the students had placed inside. Although the experiment didn’t work out quite as planned, many of the students continued to use the pizza ovens over the course of the week and obtained fantastic results. They were proud of what they had created, but more importantly, impressed by the power of heat, and thus obtained a better understanding of how heat can be reflected, absorbed or radiated to benefit us.