We continued our celebration of Earth Day this week, starting with some recycled art. We started with recycling crayons. We gathered up those broken crayon bits we all collect. We placed those broken bits in our silicone molds and baked them at 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until most of the crayons had melted. We then removed them and allowed them to cool. The students enjoyed coloring with their multi-colored crayons. Then we made bug homes. We cut the ends off of bottles and filled them with sticks to create homes in which bugs could live. We explored some different bugs and talked about good places to put our bug homes.
We ended our adventures in green experiments by designing and testing solar cookers. Students were told about some basic design principles involved. We provided boxes, aluminum foil, and clear plastic wrap. We talked about which side was shinier on the aluminum foil and ways to increase the heat. Some students chose to include black in their design, while others included angles. We also decided we needed to weigh our ovens down and students chose different items to test. One team decided to test cooking without the sun. We placed a graham cracker on a plate, then the students could decide if they wanted to include the chocolate bar before we added the marshmallow. While the sun didn’t crisp any of the marshmallows, they did heat up and the chocolate bars melted nicely. All in all, our cookers made some pretty good s’mores.