At Home Activity: Pizza Box Solar Oven

Experiment time!

Did you know you could make an oven out of just a few household items and an old pizza box? The McIver’s Grant Public Library in Dyersburg, Tenn., shared this interactive science project with us to share with you! This fun activity teaches you how engineers harness the power of solar energy and convert energy from the sun into conductive heat. You’ll need the following items:

  • Small cardboard box with a lid, such as a pizza box
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Sunlight
  • Pencil/stick or wood skewer
  • Optional: Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows

This experiment works best outdoors on a bright, sunny day.

Instructions: 

Step 1) Take an empty pizza box and cover the base and lid with tin foil all the way around – depending on your pizza box and your foil, you may need tape to securely fasten the foil. Be careful to make as few wrinkles as possible. This will reflect the solar radiation into the box so the more concentrated the light, the better.

Step 2) Cover the opening of the box with plastic wrap; this will help keep the heat inside your solar box. Make sure that it is completely sealed.

Step 3) Use a pencil, stick or skewer to play with the position of the pizza box lid. You want to be using the lid to direct more sun rays directly into the pizza box.

Once you have completed steps 1-3, place your box outside on a concrete surface like your driveway or sidewalk. Be sure to align the box with the sun so that there’s no shadow inside your solar oven.

For a sweet treat, place a graham cracker with a marshmallow inside the box and reposition the lid to catch those sun rays. Let that cook for approximately 30 minutes and place a piece of chocolate on top of the marshmallow. Reposition the lid for 5 more minutes of sunlight. Finally, carefully remove the treat from the box and enjoy a delicious s’mores!