Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students cook food using a solar oven made from an old pizza box. The solar oven can be made prior to this activity or you can work as a class to construct it. Students can also participate in the cooking and eating of the food cooked in the oven.

Activity developed in partnership with   tasmania_hydro_200x84_300pxl

Hydro Tasmania has been at the forefront of clean energy innovation for one hundred years. It is Australia’s largest producer of clean energy – generating hydro and wind power – and the largest water manager. Hydro Tasmania has 55 major dams, operates 30 hydropower stations and has built some of Australia’s largest wind farms.

Hydro Tasmania also sells energy in the National Electricity Market through its retail business Momentum Energy, and sells its expertise internationally through its consulting business Entura. Visit the Hydro Tasmania website to learn how the business is working towards Australia’s clean energy future.

Learning goals:

  • Students recognise some of the ways that we use electricity.
  • Students understand that we can use the energy from the sun for light, warmth and cooking.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Foundation Science

  • Science involves exploring and observing the world using the senses (ACSHE013)

Year 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)
  • Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape (ACSSU019)
  • People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE022)

Year 2 Science

  • Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE034)

Foundation and Years 1 & 2 Design and Technologies

  • Use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to safely make designed solutions (ACTDEP007)

Extension – Foundation and Years 1 & 2 Design and Technologies

  • Use personal preferences to evaluate the success of design ideas, processes and solutions including their care for environment (ACTDEP008)

Syllabus outcomes: STe-4WS, ST1-4WS, ST1-8ES, ST1-9ES, ST1-12MW, ST1-13MW

Topic: Hydro Tasmania, Energy.

Time required: 60 mins+. This activity can be extended over several sessions. If you make the solar oven prior to the activity you will only need one session for cooking; however, if you choose to make the solar oven with students you will need one session for making the oven and one session for cooking and eating.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – oversee activity and make solar oven

Resources required: 

  • Renewable Energy Flaschards
  • How to make a solar oven instruction sheet
  • Pizza box (used or new)
  • Aluminium foil
  • Black construction paper
  • Plastic sandwich wrap
  • Glue and sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Food for cooking in oven e.g. cheese on toast or English muffins, marshmallows and chocolate, cheesy nachos

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities (extension)

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Solar, oven, energy, electricity.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity, students will recognise some of the ways that we use electricity and understand the potential of using the sun's energy for light, warmth and cooking.

Teacher background information: Energy is the lifeblood of our modern life. It gives us light and keeps our food fresh. It powers our industry, fuels our cars, and charges our iPhones. Our energy is produced by burning fossil fuels and this has a range of environmental, social and economic impacts. One of the most significant is the emission of greenhouse gases. A solution is the transition to clean energy sources. The brilliant thing is that we have huge amounts of free, renewable and clean supplies of natural energies. These include sunlight, wind, running water, oceans and underground hot rocks.

According to the Clean Energy Australia Report 2013:

  • 14.76% of Australia's electricity came from renewable sources in 2013; enough to power the equivalent
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: The highest temperature ever recorded in Australia was in Oodnadatta, South Australia on the 2nd January, 1960. The temperature got to 50.7° C!

How well did your solar oven cook food? Do you think it could have cooked the food better? 

How do you think your solar oven could be improved? 



Bonus question: Can you explain how the solar oven worked? 

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