The sun shines! The sun gives us light and heat. Sun in Latin is ‘solar’ and solar energy is the energy that radiates from the sun in particles called photons. 93,000,000 miles away, the hot sun turns four million tons of its matter into energy every second. Eight minutes later, heat and light reach the earth. When light energy is absorbed it becomes hot heat energy!! Energy from just one hour of sunshine could fuel the world’s energy needs for one year! People use the sun’s warmth to keep warm and to light their homes during the day. Solar energy is clean; it does not pollute the air, land or water and it comes to us every day. Solar energy can be used to make electricity. The process is called photovoltaic. Silicon from just one ton of sand, used in photovoltaic cells, can produce as much electricity as burning 500,000 tons of coal. You may have a solar-powered watch, calculator or eventually a car!
Let the sun shine in!
Activity 1 Fry An Egg! Build A Solar Oven!
Wait for a summer day when it is hot and the sun is shining. Ask permission to take a black frying pan outside. Crack an egg into the pan, cover with a glass lid or plastic and wait for the sun to fry your egg! Don’t forget the salt and pepper and like all good cooks, do the dishes!
People all over the world cook food without using gas or electric stoves. For your solar oven, all you will need to use the sun to cook your lunch is a box (pizza), black paper, foil, clear plastic, tape and newspaper. Follow the instructions on the link and place your solar oven in the sun. Expect the cooking time to take about twice as long as with conventional methods, and allow about one half hour to preheat. Temperatures in solar ovens can reach between 200-275 degrees Fahrenheit so be sure to use baking mitts to touch pans that have set a while in the oven. Bake an apple, broil a hot dog, melt chocolate and marshmallows. Cook with the sun!
Activity 2 Harness the Sun's Heat and Blow Up a Balloon!
For this fun experiment you will need a sunny day, 1 dark bottle, 1 clear bottle and two balloons. Put the balloons on top of the bottles and put the bottles in the sun. Wait and watch. Which balloon begins to fill with air and why?!!!
Hello hot air balloon!
Activity 3 Tell the Time With a Sundial
To use the sun as a source for light and warmth we need to understand its path across the sky. Ancients used the sun for telling time. In this activity you will build a sundial to tell time using the sun’s movement. After you make your sundial, try making a sundial necklace or chain.
Harness the sun!
Sundial Necklace or Chain
The sun is _______ miles away from the earth.
Some solar panels use water to collect the sun's heat.
A house faces _______ in the northern hemisphere to capture the sun's light and warmth.
A material found in sand that is used in photovoltaic cells is:
Solar energy is:
- Photovoltaic Cells
- Solar Cooking
- History of Solar Energy
- Passive Solar Energy
- Solar Panels
- The Sun from Space
- Around the World in A Solar Airplane
- GEcoimagination Power of the Sun
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