Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: World of Wonder: A Program on the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism for Grades K-1

Faith In Action: Solar Oven Workshop

Part of World of Wonder

Materials for Activity

  • Handout 2, Solar Oven Instructions
  • Cardboard pizza box, newspapers, a ruler, a marker, a box knife or sharp scissors, aluminum foil, black construction paper, clear plastic wrap, tape, and glue
  • A stick, large straw, or wooden spoon
  • A tin pie plate or a glass dish
  • Ingredients for a treat to cook in solar oven, such as s'mores, bread or tortilla with cheese, or nachos
  • Oven mitts
  • Closing song lyrics from Session 1
  • Information about Solar Cookers International to share

Preparation for Activity

  • Consult with the director of religious education to choose a date and time for the workshop and communicate to families (you may wish to invite the wider congregation). Choose a work space for building the solar ovens and a sunny location outside or a full-sun window where solar ovens and be set up.
  • Ask participants ahead of time to bring a cardboard pizza box and newspapers with them to the workshop; tell them the congregation will provide the rest of the supplies (if this is not possible, ask participants to bring as many of the supplies as needed).
  • Gather materials needed (you may wish to have extra cardboard pizza boxes and newspapers).
  • Visit the Solar Cookers International website. Print information to share with participants.
  • Recruit volunteers to take photographs or video during the event
  • Set up tables and chairs, and set out materials so they are easily accessible.

Description of Activity

This activity is a fun way to experience solar energy. Since this project takes more time than is usually available in a religious education session and extra adult help is needed, it is an ideal way to include families and the wider congregation.

Welcome participants and invite them to sit at the tables, making certain that there are mixed ages at each table. In these words of your own, explain:

The World of Wonder group has been exploring green energy-energy which comes from sources that are cleaner and less polluting than fossil fuels, and will last forever, such as sun, wind, and water. In today's workshop, we will use solar energy to create a treat.

Give a copy of Handout 2, Solar Oven Instructions, to all participants. Invite each table to introduce themselves to each other and follow the instructions to make a solar oven. Encourage discussion by asking:

What are some ways that you save energy or use green energy in your family?

When solar ovens are finished, invite participants to collect ingredients you have provided and have them use their solar ovens to cook the treat. While the treats are cooking, you may wish to share information about the not for profit organization Solar Cookers International, which spreads solar cooking awareness and skills worldwide, particularly in areas with plentiful sunshine and diminishing sources of cooking fuel. Since its founding in 1987, SCI has enabled over 30,000 families in Africa to cook with the sun's energy, freeing women and children from the burdens of gathering firewood and carrying it for miles.

When the treats have been eaten, ask all participants to help clean up.

Close by asking the World of Wonder children to lead participants in the song "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands."

Share the photos or video of the activity with the children next time the group meets.