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Go Solar by Cooking with the Sun and More!

By YWCA Minneapolis
July 28, 2023
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YWCA Minneapolis Beacons Summer Program and Strong Fast Fit (SFF) collaborated with GoSolar! Kidz this summer! They learned about solar energy, how to cultivate it, its different uses and how to store it. Youth put their skills to the test as they built and tested out their solar-powered creations.

Cooking with the Sun

Cooking with the sun teaches the youth how to harness the sun’s energy to cook using non-traditional means: no electricity, gas, charcoal or wood. The SFF youth built two mini projects, a small greenhouse and a solar oven. The mini greenhouse was built using a LEGO-type product for the structure, a thin plastic sheet for the covering and six mini pots filled with green moss and selective seedlings. They finalize their mini greenhouse by watering their plants using a syringe to control the amount of water so their seedlings can grow by the window using the sun’s natural light.

“I like the green house! It was fun to build and it was weird trying the green moss with the seeds.” – SFF youth participant

The next project was the solar oven; the youth built it using a reflective tin foil material with a plastic sheet to cover it. The middle of the “oven” was a block of wood wrapped in black tin foil that the youth would “cook” their food on. The black aluminum foil helped attract the sun’s rays and energy, thus allowing the items on the block to be cooked.

The most exciting part of the solar oven was when the Instructor told the youth they would be cooking s’mores and fruit snacks. After each youth completed their oven on the third day, they all had the opportunity to cook snacks outside when the sun was hot. In the hot sun, the youth placed their selection in the middle of the oven and had to figure out where the sun’s energy was coming from.

“The weather was hot. I was sure the s’more would cook fast under the sun.” – SFF youth participant

Already some of the youth noticed that the fruit snacks were already melting. Some touched the tinfoil material and realized it was already hot. It wouldn’t take long for the snacks to cook! Even with their observation and calculation, the s’more still took a while to cook.

Go-Karts Go!

The last session was the main event, building two solar go-karts! All the youth worked together, applied what they had learned from their first three sessions to build a solar go-kart and took turns riding through outdoor obstacle courses. Thanks to GoSolar! Kidz for the collaboration!

Learn more about Strong Fast Fit

Learn more about Beacons Learning Centers