Solar panels are just one of the many types of renewable energy that are available now.  There are wind turbines, water mills, solar, and new technologies are being developed every year.  This picture is a solar panel near our house.  There are even new builders developing roof tiles that incorporate solar panels in the tiles!  Tesla, the developer of the famous electric car of the same name, has developed a set of roof tiles to compete.  Some areas even allow for homes with renewable energy sources to be reimbursed for overflow energy that is fed into the system.

The sun can be used for a lot of cool experiments (and even art projects)! Online experiments show how powerful solar energy can be.  Here’s just a few:

  1. 1. Make a simple solar oven – cover a box in aluminum foil. The aluminum foil will reflect the sun.  Now put your food – ex. to see how well it works put in something that will melt like an ice cube and see how quickly it will melt out in the sun in your solar oven.  How quickly did it ‘cook’?

2.  Build a chimney out of metal cans taped together and put the cylinder in the sun.  If you put a pinwheel above it you many see the pinwheel spin slowly.  The sun will heat the air in the cans and cause the air to rise.  The air will then blow the pinwheel.

3. Build a still to distill water.  Put an empty small container within a larger container filled with salt water.  Cover the container tightly with saran wrap and weight down the portion of the cover over the small container.  Now leave in the sun.  – The sun will heat the water causing it to rise and condense on the saran wrap.  Water will run to the lowest point – where the cover is weighted down, and drop into the small container.  The small container will then contain pure water without the salt.

4. Crayon Board:  My favorite for this, includes gluing crayons across a canvas to make a rainbow.  You can add peel off stickers to be removed after the crayons melt if you would like to add some designs.  Now put the canvas out in the sun – In the front window of your car is a great spot that will quickly melt the crayons!  The canvas needs to be slanted down. As the crayons heat up the melted crayon will run down the canvas.



Next Week:

Make Your Own Globe