Anson Middle School students may have a future as innovators of solar energy technology, according to eighth-grade science teacher Katie Shay.
AMS students were presented a list of materials and the challenge to design a solar oven using those materials, Shay said. While students weren’t required to use every item on the list, they were charged with using their own imaginations to come up with how their solar oven would work. Materials included pizza boxes donated by Papa Joe’s Pizzeria and a sheet of aluminum from the AMS cafeteria, which was used to reflect sunlight, according to Shay.
After pondering the material and coming up with a design, the students turned in a paragraph explaining how their oven would work. The paragraphs were read aloud and each class voted on its champion, which was developed into an oven for each class period, according to Shay. “The students were very excited about which class’s solar oven could melt a Hershey’s Kiss first,” Shay said via email. “They came in periodically throughout the day to check on their ovens’ progress and developed questions and hypotheses about what could change to improve the next model.”
After the competition, the winning fourth bell class was awarded with a modified/shorter test in fourth period, as well as a Papa Joe’s pizza party and a Hershey’s Kiss “to remind them how sweet their idea about renewable energy was,” Shay said.
“All students were very excited and loved the opportunity to work together to collaborate a winning development. Students have even talked about making an oven at home and impressing their parents with it,” Shay said. The students will face another challenge later this year: constructing windmills from paper towel tubes and craft sticks to show how wind power can charge batters for use in other objects.
“We hope to shop how important it is for us here in Anson County to rely more fully on renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels,” Shay said. “Maybe one day, one of our students will be a part of a solar energy project here in Anson County!”