Monday, January 21, 2013

{Day 2} Guest Blogger Series

 Day 2... Please welcome Tamara from Mrs. Russell's Room

Every year, I do solar ovens with my students.  This year will be no different! :)  Now...last year, we did solar ovens in November, so it was a wee bit warmer than it will be now,'s pretty much always warm enough to bake a cookie! :)  Hee hee hee! :)  I am going to be teaching a space unit at the beginning of February, so, I thought it might be a good idea to whip out the old solar oven plans and give them a quick brush up! :)  Full disclosure..I saved up these Cheerios boxes for almost six months to have enough for all of my kiddos to get a box to use! :)  My husband eats A LOT of Cheerios! :)

I'd already taught the students about the sun, and we brainstormed about what we could use to create a solar oven.  We did some internet research on creating solar ovens as well.  Last year, I had several boy scouts...which was super helpful to the discussion groups! :)  I volunteered that I had these cheerios boxes and the kids started talking about what else they'd need.  The fifth grade class down the hall had baked cookies with solar ovens that they put together--so we took a look at that one and posed other questions about what would/could create the best oven.  I brought in aluminum foil, hemp rope and tape for the groups to use...a few groups decided that they'd like to try black paper in their model...since asphalt gets really hot...maybe that would help our cookies bake better.  We journaled about this process in class every day for about a week, and then produced our scientific masterpieces! :)

It was so fun to watch the groups interact with each other! :)  Although most of the time I give specific instructions for labs, I wanted this one to be more organic.  This one group of boys really liked the style of the fifth grade pre-made ovens and added more to their model to add more surface area for heat. In the next can see how a girl from a neighboring group is asking about their model.  Their discussion really showed the depth of understanding the boys had, and really helped the other student in the next group develop a better understanding of what could create more heat in her model.  I brought in measuring cups and the ingredients from home for chocolate chip cookies. The kids were really excited to help me make these cookies!  Once we had the dough made...oh ours were 'egg-less' because we were afraid we'd poison ourselves! LOL! :)  We shared it out equally...each group got three small cookies.  We put them outside to cook up...and in about two and a half hours we had cookies! :)  It was a pretty great day! :)  I hope you'll try solar ovens with your kids too! :)

Their faces here are PRICELESS! :)

I'm not really all that sure why we NEEDED the garbage can on the table...but we DID wash our hands throughout this process! :)

We made cookies! :)
In the experiments that I do with the students, I have pre-assigned roles for them.  At the beginning of the year, they used these tags to help them remember their lab jobs.  By the time we'd started these solar ovens...they were quite used to taking on different roles within their groups and it was a really great experience! :)

Thanks so much for reading! :)  If you'd like to find out more about my adventures, please come see me at my blog, *Mrs. Russell's Room*!  Can't wait to meet you! :)
 Your partner in education,


  1. Solar Ovens! I love it! And Stacy you gotta teach me how to make that floating P! Too cute!
    The Lightbulb Lab

  2. It was a ton of fun, Michele! ;) Thanks for doing this, Stacy! :)