Making the Standard Solar Heater

Simple Solar Water Heater
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Learning Goal(s):

In this activity students will learn that sunlight energy can be transformed into other forms of energy and that the amount of sunlight energy captured by an object can be quantified and measured.

Lesson Number:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour 30 min

In part one of the activity students will be asked to create a simple solar heater, measure the temperature change in a vial of water, then calculate the heat energy transferred to a vial of water. Students will construct the solar heater, place a set amount of water into a vial in the collector and place it in direct sunlight. After a set time students will measure the final temperature of the water and calculate the heat energy transferred to the water from the sun.

Other Material(s) Used:
2-3L room temperature water • graduated cylinders or syringes for measuring 30ml of water • colored construction paper • aluminum foil • Tape/glue • sunny day • 2 vials • 2 thermometers • 2 Styrofoam plates • 1 soup bowl to be used as solar heater mold