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Upper El (3/29 - 4/1): Testing Ovens

"This week"—I know I'm writing this a bit later than usual—we started our unit on Thermal Energy, finished building our solar ovens, explored heat conduction, and worked on our poems for Literary Tea. Oh! And, we tested our solar ovens to great success!

We used our story writing time this week to give our group extra time to work on their poems for Literary Tea. Upper El is a creative bunch, and I think you'll all be happy to hear what they've written.

Our last steps for building our solar ovens were to line them with aluminum foil and place a black piece of paper at the box's bottom. We revisited our lessons on the Green House Effect and on Radiant Energy and color. We were able to connect these lessons to see how all the parts of these ovens come together to trap heat effectively.

Our rainy Wednesday made the demonstration on conduction "interesting" and a bit challenging, but we made it through! Students learned how heat travels through different materials better than others and how that works at the molecular level. Molecules are bumping into each other, transferring their energy, which is the process of conduction.

We made a list of thermal conductors and insulators. Again, we were able to connect this back to our solar ovens to see how the materials and design further help to trap heat inside.

Then it came time to prove it. Would our solar ovens work? Would they get hot? As engineers, we came to our testing phase. Thursday was on the cooler side, but it was a bright and sunny day—perfect. While we worked on our poems and caught up on some work before the break, we had our solar ovens set up on the driveway with some thermometers inside.

Wow! It was only about 60 degrees outside that day, but our ovens... they all reached over 90 degrees! Some got over 120 degrees, and our record was 141.6 degrees. I'd call that a success!

I'm looking forward to using our ovens soon after we return. We'll finish our unit on Thermal Energy and dive into Electrical and Magnetic Energy to finish our year.

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