STEM isn’t complete until you have made your own sun oven or solar cooker for melting s’mores. No campfire needed with this engineering classic! Find out how to make a pizza box solar oven and what materials you need. It’s super simple! Take this fun STEM project outdoors the next hot day you have this summer. Heatwave not included!
Build A Pizza Box Solar Oven For STEM
Add this simple DIY solar oven project to your STEM activities this season. If you want to find out how to build your own solar cooker, read on! While you’re at it, make sure to check out more fun outdoor STEM activities.
Our engineering activities are designed with you, the parent or teacher, in mind! Easy to set up, quick to do, most activities will take only a short time to complete and are heaps of fun! Plus, our supplies lists usually contain only free or cheap materials you can source from home!
What Is STEM For Kids?
So you might ask, what does STEM actually stand for? STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. The most important thing you can take away from this, is that STEM is for everyone!
Yes, kids of all ages can work on STEM projects and enjoy STEM lessons. STEM activities are great for group work, too!
STEM is everywhere! Just look around. The simple fact that STEM surrounds us is why it’s so important for kids to be a part of, use, and understand STEM.
Interested in STEM plus ART? Check out all our STEAM Activities!
From the buildings you see in town, the bridges that connect places, the computers we use, the software programs that go with them, and compasses for navigation, STEM is what makes it all possible.
Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started
Here are a few resources that will help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.
- Engineering Design Process Explained
- What Is An Engineer
- Engineering Vocab
- Questions for Reflection (get them talking about it!)
- 14 Engineering Books for Kids
- Must Have STEM Supplies List
How Does A Solar Oven Work
A solar oven uses energy from the sun to heat and cook food. How does a solar oven work? The simple answer is that it absorbs more heat than it releases.
Our DIY solar oven below is made out of a pizza box, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and a sheet of black paper.
The aluminum foil is used to reflect sunlight into the box.
The plastic wrap covers an opening in the box and works like a greenhouse, allowing sunlight to pass into the box, while also keeping the heat in.
At the bottom of the box, you have black construction paper. The black paper will absorb sunlight and increase the temperature of your DIY solar cooker.
Now time to make up some yummy s’ mores to cook in your new solar oven! Read on for the full instructions to make your own pizza box solar oven.
Solar Oven Science Project
Science projects are an excellent tool for older kiddos to show what they know about science! Plus, they can be used in all sorts of environments including classrooms, homeschool, and groups.
Want to turn this solar oven activity into an awesome science fair project? Check out these helpful resources.
DIY Solar Oven Project
- S’mores ingredients (marshmallows, Hershey’s bars and graham crackers)
- Cardboard pizza box (You could also try this with a shoebox!)
- Black construction paper
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap
- Wooden skewer
- Hot glue/hot glue gun
How To Make A Solar Oven
STEP 1. Trace your ruler around the top edges of the box to leave a even square and carefully cut out the top.
STEP 2. Wrap the cardboard square in foil and glue the edges to secure.
STEP 3. Open the box and glue the black construction paper to the bottom of the box.
STEP 4. On the inside on the lid, carefully glue a piece of plastic wrap over the opening.
STEP 5. Time to make your s’mores! Place four graham crackers down on the black paper, 3 chocolate squares and a marshmallows on top of each one.
STEP 6. Carefully close the plastic lid of the box and glue one side of the foil-wrapped cardboard on the top back of the box.
STEP 7. Glue a skewer on the top left corner of the foil-wrapped cardboard and place the other end through the plastic wrap to hold the foil-wrapped cardboard in place.
STEP 8. Place your DIY solar oven in the sun and wait 60 minutes to watch your marshmallows and chocolate melt.
More Fun Things To Build
When you finish making your solar oven, why not explore more science and STEM with one of these ideas below. You can find all our engineering activities for kids here!
Make your own air cannon and blast down dominoes and other similar items.
Make your own homemade magnifying glass for simple physics.
Construct a working Archimedes screw simple machine.
Make a paper helicopter and explore motion in action.
Build your own mini hovercraft that actually hovers.
Build a balloon powered car and see how far it can go.
A good breeze and a few materials are all you need to tackle this DIY kite project.
It’s a fun chemical reaction that makes this bottle rocket take off.
80+ Doable Engineering Projects in one convenient pack!
- Full instructions with sample images
- Activity-specific instruction sheets
- Data Collection Sheets
- Questions for Reflection
- Architecture Building Cards: Try the tallest tower challenge
- Bridge Building Cards: Explore different types of bridges to build your own.
- Paper Chain STEM Challenge: Who can make the longest chain? Great icebreaker or quick challenge!
- 3 Little Pigs Architectural Pack: Design a house that won’t blow away!
- Great marshmallow challenge: A classic challenge kids love!
- Real-world STEM challenge lesson but don’t know where to start? Our easy-to-follow template shows the steps!
- What’s the difference between a scientist and an engineer?
- Crossword and word search with engineering vocabulary.
- Engineering vocabulary cards
- Design a one-of-a-kind invention and write about it with this 5-page activity!