Heat up Your Summer with Solar Science
Bright summer light is perfect for exploring solar energy. Science Buddies' kid-friendly science project ideas make it fun and easy!
Summer is almost here, so get ready for fun in the sun! With school out, there will be plenty of time to play in the water, eat popsicles, spit watermelon seeds, and much more. What do you like to do with your summer days?
Learning through Exploration and Discovery
When deciding how to spend your free time this summer, be sure to put science-based activities on your list. Take advantage of the sunshine to run races with solar-powered robots, or build a simple solar oven and cook up some s'mores. Fun is definitely the name of the game when it comes to summer science! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Now You're Cooking! Building a Simple Solar Oven: Harness the power of the sun for cooking hot dogs and s'mores! Cardboard boxes, tinfoil, and other simple household items are all you need. For a family-science version of this exploration, see: Pizza Box Solar Oven. (Take a look at this story to see how one family's solar oven project turned out.)
- From Brine to Beverage: Solar-Powered Salt Removal: Is it possible to make seawater drinkable? In this hands-on project, you'll discover how to remove salt from water. If you are interested in a similar project that uses a science kit, check out the alternative Solar-Powered Water Desalination project idea.
- Build a Solar-Powered Bristlebot: Are there times when solar power isn't practical or effective? Build a mini-robot and see how solar power stacks up against battery power under different light conditions.
- The Frightened Grasshopper: Explore Electronics & Solar Energy with a Solar-Powered Robot Bug: Does the strength of a light source affect the amount of energy that a solar panel absorbs? Explore with this alternative robot project that uses light bulbs of different wattages.
- Are You in Hot Water? Use the Sun's Energy to Heat Your Own Water: How can you get hot water when you're on a hiking trip? Heat your water with the sun, of course. In this project, you'll discover what makes a great outdoor hot water heater.
- Solar Speedway: Does the position of the sun in relation to solar panels affect how much energy they collect? Head to the races with a mini solar car, and explore how the car's speed changes depending on the time of day.
Renewable energy is an important topic in science, and there's no better time than summer to explore the topic with kids. While they're learning, they'll also be creating some "renewable" fun—you can use solar ovens, robots, and cars over and over!
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