2015 Showcase

St Mark Separate School: Mississauga, Ontario

"There was not a single cloud in the sky as the sun radiated an intense heat. A slight, cool breeze whispered into the leaves of trees as it continued on its journey. A bright beam of light reflected off of a shiny piece of metal onto a little piece of cookie dough in the middle of a big box. But what is this big box? Well, it is a Solar Oven."  

On May 10th, eleven Grade Five and Six gifted students and their teacher at St Mark Separate School worked in pairs to build five solar ovens following the instructions at re-energy.ca.

The first oven was called The Phoenix and it was the oldest out of its other four siblings. This oven was smothered in black paint so it could absorb heat. Aluminum foil was taped on the inside of the cardboard. We placed the panels on the box and covered it in aluminum foil. There were 4 rectangular panels and 4 triangular panels. This was called our reflector and it formed an irregular octagon.

The reflector gave the solar oven a little boost in heating up the food. The sunlight bounced off the reflector and into the Solar Oven. The light ricocheted around the Solar Oven and met its target; innocent, unsuspecting, delicious piece of cookie dough. The cookie dough was placed inside a metal bowl and covered in plastic wrap. The metal bowl would heat up and the cookie dough would start baking! The plastic wrap would let the light into the bowl and it wouldn’t let the heat out.

Just like the other ovens, Phoenix was made with the same materials; cardboard, aluminum foil, duct tape, black paint, newspaper, magnifying glasses and some aluminum tape. The groups chose a variety of thing to cook. S’mores, pizza, fondues, and s’more cookies were baking in the ovens. The s’mores’ chocolate melted and so did the marshmallows. The pizza’s cheese and tomato sauce melted together and formed a meal of "amazingness"! Plus the cookie dough tasted fabulous! All in all, the students loved the Solar Oven project and it was a great experience. The Gr. 6’s did this project last year and this was the Gr.5’s first year. The classes all worked well as a team and enjoyed the awesome Solar Ovens!


Magnetawan Public School: Magnetawan, Ontario

Working at a small school on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario, teacher Ann Butterworth only has 9 students in her grade 5/6 science class. Students were divided into 3 groups of three for the challenge. They reviewed backgrounder information then researched solar oven designs and recipes online, using the re-energy.ca site. Their Solar Oven Challenge Test Day was Friday May 8, 2015. The weather was windy with a mix of sun and cloud with a high reaching 28 degrees Celsius. They tested the ovens at the peak of the day, from 12:20-12:55.

Shooting Stars: The class faced the oven south towards the sun. They put the reflector on an 80 degree angle, so the sun would reflect into the oven. The class tried one design, but made improvements to the design as they went. Ann's class used a pizza box, cutting open the top and covering it with saran wrap. They also put a piece of black metal in the bottom of the box to attract and hold the heat. Then, a metal reflector was placed on the top of the piece of the lid that was cut to reflect the suns heat. Finally, they insulated the box with rolled up newspaper. />

Sunbeam: For the second design, a group of Ann's students built a solar oven design. It was windy and the reflector needed lots of supports and the students were constantly watching it. They painted a box black and cut off the top so they could see inside. Next the team made a reflector using a large piece of cardboard and tinfoil. They attached the reflector to the back and placed a piece of Plexiglas on top of the box. Ann's class used crumpled newspapers in the bottom of the box to insulate then placed a piece of metal on top of the newspaper.

Pizza pie: The third Magnetawan group used a large cardboard box. They lined it with foil that was painted black. Then they put a large piece of metal on top. They had to make many changes as when they tested the oven temperature as it was colder inside the box than outside! This group had lots of help from the other teams.

From the overwhelming success of this Solar Oven Challenge, Ann's class plans to offer a mini BBQ at the end of the year (weather permitting) where the solar ovens will be used to feed the school. This will be the ultimate test if their designs were effective and if they were practical to be used in real world applications. 


Chesley District Community School: Arran-Elderslie, Ontario

Passionate student Owen S. in Jennifer Pratt's grade 5 class at Chesley District Community school built and tested two different solar oven designs in his bid for the Solar Oven Challenge.

The first one was made out of a pizza box and aluminum foil. While cooking marshmallows, Owen's dog attempted to eat them and ended up destroying his oven. Luckily Ms Pratt felt he was trustworthy enough to believe the "The dog ate my homework" excuse.

The second attempt was a bigger oven made from a cardboard box and astrofoil, mounted on an astrofoil base.  By locating this oven in a location of direct sunlight in front of his home, Owen was able to realize the desired temperature of 100 degrees! 

He was able to make grilled cheese and garlic bread, as well as reheat pasta, however the oven was unsuccessful in cooking the egg.