Harness the Sun!

flickr photo shared by Todd Huffman under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license


Most of us are aware of the benefits of using solar-powered devices - it reduces our electricity bills and it is eco-friendly, as we use a natural resource - the sun! But few have stopped to actually consider the life-changing effects for example solar cookers can have on women and children in many developing countries. Namely, many women and girls spend hours on end collecting wood, tending fires and cooking with wood stoves in different countries. This influences girls’ school attendance, among other things. Water-borne and smoke-related diseases are among the primary causes of death for children. The smoke from cooking on fires is also a major cause of death for young women in many parts of the world.

Solar cookers are arguably among the best alternatives when it comes to improving children’s school attendance (zero time spent on collecting burning materials and much less attention needed to watch over the meal as it is being cooked!), no smoke is generated leading to significantly improved health and poverty reduction overall as many more families are able to cook their own meals with significantly lower bills.

In the following activity, we will try to create our own little household solar cooker.

Activity Type

Individual or group / Experiential


>1 h

Learning Outcomes

  • To learn how to build a solar cooker

  • Reflect on alternative sources of energy

  • Reflect on how spreading such alternative energy concepts could be life-changing for poorer communities


Required Materials and Tools:

  • 2 cardboard boxes

  • Newspaper

  • Aluminium foil

  • Glue or staple

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. The instructions are adapted from WikiHowPlease refer to the link provided for a clearer guidance with pictures.

  2. Put a cardboard box inside a bigger cardboard box. There should be at least an inch between the sides of the 2 boxes, fill that space with shredded newspaper (insulator). In order to absorb heat, put black construction paper on the inside on the smaller box. Take flaps from cardboard sheets and cut them as somewhat flared squares. The squares will be attached to the box walls, so the width of each narrow end of the square should be the same as the width of the box side where you're attaching them. The flared ends' width should be a few inches wider compared to the narrow ends' width.

  3. Cover these 4 squares with aluminium foil, so they become ''reflectors''. Position each reflector to the top of each side of the big box. Use glue or staple if needed. Position each reflector up at approximately a 45 degree angle.You can use stick rods that can be glued to the reflectors.

  4. Put the solar cooker in full sun, put food in the smaller box (preferably in a jar or a dark baking pan) and wait for it to cook.



  • Did the solar cooker work?

  • Was this activity difficult for you?

  • Did you reflect on all the energy you are saving and how your energy-saving actions are directly connected to other people all over the globe?

Instructions for Submission

Take a picture of the meal after it has been cooked in the solar cooker and upload it in Moodle. Submit a short summary of the experience. Instructions on how to upload photos and how to submit things in Moodle can be found here: Instructions on Submission&Uploading

Instructions for Assessment

Provide feedback to at least one participant that has done this activity. Instructions on providing feedback can be found here: Instructions on Feedback

Tried an activity? Give us feedback!

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