July 12th, 2024

Praxis: A snack in the sun

By Medicine Hat News on July 8, 2017.

I think that it is a bit of an understatement when I say that we have been experiencing a heat wave this week! Oh my it has been hot. I had someone ask me the other day if it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. I truly should have tried this. But it did get me to thinking what we could cook with the sun though. Here is a good snack that you can enjoy in the afternoon with some of your friends! Let’s get started.

*Remember to ask an adult before doing this experiment.


– pizza box

– black construction paper

– aluminum foil

– plastic food wrap

– glue

– tape

– scissors or exacto knife

– ruler

– marker

– wooden dowel or chopstick

– a few sheets of newspaper

– paper plate

– tortilla chips

– cheese

– other nacho fixings you like


1. Close the pizza box.

2. On top of the lid measure 5 cm from each edge. Mark with a ruler. Draw a dotted line around three sides of the box and a solid line on the fourth side.

3. Have an adult help you cut out the dotted lines on the three sides with an exacto knife or scissors.

4. Crease the uncut edge and fold this lid back.

5. Measure and cut a piece of plastic film to go over this hole now.

6. Tape firmly in place.

7. Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil. All surfaces including the flap you just cut out. Glue or tape down firmly in place.

8. Cover the bottom of the box with black construction paper. Note this will cover the aluminum foil. Secure in place with tape or glue.

9. Roll up a few sheets of newspaper and tuck them along the inside edges of the box. You do not want to see them; you want them tucked up nice and tight to create some nice insulation.

10. Close the lid.

11. Open the top flap that you cut out earlier.

12. This will take a bit of work, but you want the lid to be open just enough so that the sunlight reflects onto what you are cooking inside of the box. Once you have found this position, prop the box open with the wooden dowel.

13. Allow the oven to preheat for about 30 minutes.

14. Prepare your nachos on the paper plate.

15. Carefully place the paper plate inside of the solar oven; carefully close the flap so you can still see the food through the plastic window.

16. Wait and watch!


Please be patient, cooking with a solar oven take about twice as long as conventional cooking methods. Also, the best time of day to try and cook anything is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The upside is that this is such an environmentally friendly way to cook. We are harnessing the power of the sun that is there for us already! The tin foil you placed in the solar oven reflects the sunlight into the box and allows it to heat up. With a plastic window, you are sealing in this heat from the sun just like an oven with the door closed. As the sun’s energy heats up the air outside, it is also heating the air inside the box cooking your food. You add some extra “protection” to keep the heat from escaping by placing the black construction paper in the box to absorb the heat and the newspaper to insulate and prevent heat loss from the box.

I hope you enjoy your snack!

Patty Rooks is senior scientific consultant at PRAXIS, “Connecting Science To The Community.” Contact Praxis at praxis@praxismh.ca, http://www.praxismh.ca, Tweet or follow us @PraxisMedHat, or friend us on Facebook.

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