Earth Day is just around the corner! Celebrate by deciding how you can live more sustainably. Over the last few weeks, we have explored energy and how we use it. Missed a week along the way? Check out our previous blog posts at the links below:
Let’s finish our energy journey with the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP) by uncovering the magic of solar ovens. Did you know you can cook with the sun?
Cooking with the sun
The sun is used by many living things. Plants use the sun to make food, some animals use the sun to stay warm, and we discovered that humans use the sun for various activities in our first energy discussion. We also found the position of the sun can be used to our advantage. Maybe we want to stay cool, so we find shade, or maybe we want to produce electricity, so we find open areas to put solar arrays. We can also use that solar energy to cook!
Have you ever been inside a greenhouse? Light enters the greenhouse and the heat produced is trapped inside. This means you can grow plants even when it gets cooler out! This same idea is used in solar ovens. Sunlight enters the oven, warms the inside environment, and that heat can’t escape. You can buy or make a wide variety of solar cookers.
Why does this matter?
Solar cookers are great for many reasons! During the warm months, you can cook food without heating up your home. This also means you aren’t using energy to cook inside, such as natural gas or electricity. Solar cookers are also convenient when you go camping or spend a lot of time outdoors, with some styles being easy to carry or pack up.
Solar cookers are also a great way to think about the greenhouse effect on a small scale. The Earth stays warm in a very similar way -- some heat produced during the day gets trapped in gases in the atmosphere. Some human activities, especially those using non-renewable energy resources, increase the amount of these gases. This is one reason renewable energy options can cut back on the amount of gases being released. Have you ever experienced an environment getting warm because of heat being trapped from the sun’s light?
It’s your turn!
See if you can build a solar cooker to use the sun’s energy using the fourth video in KEEP’s Exploring Energy Outdoors Series.
Time to take one more look around your household to see where you can save energy. Are there any ways you can cut back on the energy used? Check out this week’s sustainability focus ideas below!
Food and Water
- Eat locally grown foods
- Take shorter showers
- Wash full loads of laundry
- BSF Activity Sheet - Solar Oven 4-6.pdf (uwsp.edu)
- KEEP Activity - ShoeboxSolarCooker.pdf (uwsp.edu)
- Video - https://youtu.be/XloFxgbeMHc
Don't forget to share your student's results on social media by including the hashtag #EarthDayPledge as well as tagging Focus on Energy and KEEP to receive a FREE seedling to plant.
Learn more at www.keepprogram.org