Ready to feel the heat of summer? Here is a fun summer activity that presents a learning challenge:
- To build a solar water heater.
- To test it to see how high it can raise the temperature of the water.
- To continue testing and improve the design to get the greatest temperature change of the water possible.
This 5-page Design Squad download from PBS/NASA will provide a great summer activity for older students — fun, but purposeful!
First, students are presented with the background idea — astronauts staying on the moon will need a heat source to protect them from the frigid temperatures. An example of a hot water heater is shown. But don’t let this example limit the participant’s own design!
Next, they are presented with the challenge sheet containing a summary of the challenge, suggestions, and design hints. Then they start the build-and-test process. More ideas are provided for redesign.
After the experiment is finished, questions for discussion and wrap-up are included.
Science concepts covered include:
- Heat transfer.
- Infrared radiation.
- The conversion of light to heat energy.
- Gravity-fed water systems.
Although obviously aimed at older students, younger folks will have a great time participating. Perfect way to ease the family back into the coming year!
- Solar water heaters are very practical. Give the participants a chance to come up with ways to put their design to use.
- If there is time, encourage your students to experiment with other designs. A simple online search will provide great ideas for brainstorming.
- Test and compare the results from more than one design.
- Complete one or more of the “Extend the Challenge” ideas by connecting the solar heaters in series or building a solar cooker.
- Make a simple notebooking page to document the results.
Summer Fun Activity: Build a Solar Oven
Great option for the extended activities.
10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #7 Science
Lots of notebooking options for recording the results.