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Family STEAM Challenge: S’mores in the Sun

DIY s’mores are a must for a lunchtime dessert! Here’s an easy way to make your own treat, without the fire!

The Topic:

Exploring and observing the science behind the sun’s heat and melting chocolate and marshmallows.

The Mission:

Use your scientific and detective skills to figure out the best way to capture the sun’s powerful heat.

The Challenge:

How can you make an outdoor oven that will cook you a tasty treat.

Materials you could use (but are not limited to):

  • Cardboard box
  • Tin foil
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plate
  • Stick
  • A treat to melt (chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers)

Making your s’mores:

This challenge is very open-ended as it can be applied whenever and wherever the materials are available.

To start this experiment, you must start with a cardboard box and cut one side open. Line the entire box with tin foil, including the top flap. Use the stick to hold open the flap. And cover the opening with plastic wrap. Put your treat onto the plate and put it into the box, under the plastic wrap. Place it in a sunny spot.

The heat from the sun will reflect off of the tin foil and get trapped inside the box in the plastic wrap, and it will heat up and melt your food!

Questions to Mull Over:

  • Can you melt things on a cloudy day?
  • How can you make your oven gain more heat?
  • Can you cook cookies?
  • Can you cook frozen food?
  • How big of an oven can you make?

The Family STEAM Challenge is all about experimenting with the ordinary to make the extraordinary! Chippewa Valley Family and the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire challenges your family to think and play together all in the name of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (that’s where the STEAM comes in).

Each challenge can be completed as a family or a group of friends in as little or as much time needed; however, most challenges can be completed within one sitting. The Family STEAM Challenge is also designed to get all ages involved through hands on experimenting. So get ready to put your collective thinking caps on to design a seriously cool apparatus made almost entirely out of reusable or recyclable materials laying around the house.

Thanks to Sarah McInnis for this issue’s STEAM Challenge.   


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