The Sun’s Rays: Light and its Effects

Cooking with Sunlight

The Sun’s Rays: Light and its Effects

Duration: 60 minutes ++

Notes / Activity

To build and test the prototype of the solar oven

  • 4-PS3-2: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.] 
  • 4-PS3-3: Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide. [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the change in the energy due to the change in speed, not on the forces, as objects interact.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include quantitative measurements of energy.]

By the end of this lesson, the student should able to:

  • Design and build a solar oven that can demonstrate the energy transfer from the sun. 

Lesson Plan


Duration: 50 min

  • Ziploc with marshmallows
  • Heat lamps
  • Have them build their prototype based on the chosen design.
  • After students are done building, get them to test their prototype. 
  • Depending on facilities and weather conditions, choose to conduct testing outside in a sunny spot or set up heat/plant lamps.
  •  Distribute marshmallows in a small ziploc bag to each group.
  • As students test their prototypes, they should be collecting and recording data. They will test to see if their marshmallows will melt and become softer. 
  • They will need to make at least one modification and note the effect this modification had on the performance of their design. 
  • In later steps, students will modify, rebuild, and retest their oven with other food such as s’mores. 


Duration: 10 min

  • Have students present their solar ovens and explain how they work.
  • Evaluate student’s cooked marshmallows and the efficiency of the solar oven.
  • Have a discussion with the class about the process of testing their designs.


Which designs worked best? 

Which materials worked best? 

What do they wish they had done?

How could the design be better?


  • Get students to write a reflection on whether their solar oven works. Have them suggest ways to improve or make modifications to the oven in order to make it even more effective.