Daily Variations in Solar Energy

Earth Sun
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Energy Content:
Learning Goal(s):

Students will understand that when the sun is lower in the sky, it casts a longer shadow on an object. When the sun is higher in the sky, it casts a smaller shadow. Students will also understand the importance of adjusting the position of a solar oven every half hour or so throughout the cooking process to insure that the bottom of the oven is facing the sun directly in order to maximize heat absorption.

Lesson Number:
Pedagogy & Practice:
Estimated Activity Length:
40 min
Relevant Common Core Standard(s):

Students will observe and articulate that even on cloudless days, the amount of solar energy changes with the time of day and the time of year. Solar energy is strongest when the sun is high in the sky (when shadows are shortest). The sun shines more directly into the solar cooker when the sun is highest in the sky.

Other Material(s) Used:
A sunny day • Open ground that will be sunny all day • A solar oven • Different colors of chalk to mark and label the shadows the oven will make throughout the day