Saturday, January 31, 2015

Science Fun with Solar Cookers!

     Yes I have been lacking in my blogger duties, so sorry. After finally finishing up my Master's in Literacy Education I got caught up in the craziness that is 3rd grade!
     This year I decided to loop up with my 2nd graders from last year. What an amazing group of kids! I couldn't resist looping with them. However, the perils of 3rd grade just crept up on me. State testing woes. I have never had to deal with the pressure involved in this high-stakes nonsense! 20 years into my career I am finally face to face with the "T E S T" !
     I decided I needed to make sure these kids got the BEST of me! So here is the beginning of our year ...hands-on and fun times in Science!

     We asked ourselves how can we use what we know about radiant energy to make a solar cooker that can actually make a snack?  I divided the class into engineering teams of three or four. Then introduced them to the material that they were allowed to use;shoe boxes or cardboard boxes; aluminum foil; wax paper; colored construction paper; plastic wrap; masking tape; clear tape; string (only those materials were permitted). Each child had a role to play too, that made it more manageable! Together they had 15 minutes to create and label drawings of their solar cookers. Then they estimated how much of the materials they would need to do the job. Once I signed off on their blueprint, then they could create.

We then used our "21st century skills" and collaborated, took initiative, used our curiosity and imagination.

The class had to problem solve together and really be flexible with one another so everyone's opinions could be heard.

Making sure they used effective oral and written communication with each other was so important!
 It took us two days from blueprints to  actual cookers. We waited for a super sunny day (4 days later) and went outside to make a snack.

This group had an awesome design, but will it work?

Another good design, complete with a flap to check what is cooking!

The open oven design is what we called this invention.

This oven has a large door to cook open or closed.
Another open design.

Finally we got cooking!

We didn't have to wait long, the slowest cooker took 22 minutes, but in hind sight I would not have put the chocolate with the marshmallow and cookie, 

As you can see "Solar Cookers" were a big hit,  
Next time on "Being the Queen Bee isn't Easy" expect to see what goes on in Math....I promise it won't take three months to get that post out!

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