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At-home learning leads to sweet rewards
Fourth graders make solar ovens
solar Drake
Lincoln Elementary School fourth graders from Hoisington made solar ovens recently for a school assignment. Some parents share photos with the Great Bend Tribune, like this one of Drake.

HOISINGTON — Fourth graders in Carla Richards’s class at Lincoln Elementary School in Hoisington recently made solar ovens as part of a science project. The children were encouraged to do their own research and come up with a design that could be used to cook s’mores or other treats.

Richards gave the students some links to online videos for examples of how to make a solar oven. The Great Bend Tribune found an example by Kids Fun Science on YouTube ( showing how to turn a pizza box into a solar oven.

During a normal school year, Richards said, students study energy at the end of the spring semester. Learning to harness the power of the sun is part of the lesson on clean energy.

This year, with students learning from home, Richards sees the students at least once a week on Zoom. “Most of my teaching has been projects,” she said.  

For the solar oven project, many of the student creations were similar – pizza or shoe boxes lined with aluminum foil – although one that was totally different instead used shiny kitchen pots and lids.

“They did come up with all kinds of things to cook,” she said. She received photos or reports of students using their ovens to warm up pizza or pancakes or to cook hot dogs. For those who use them to make s’mores, Kids Fun Science advises putting the marshmallow UNDER the chocolate – a departure from the campfire recipe – because, in the solar oven, it takes the marshmallow longer to melt than the chocolate.