The Sun

When the sun is shining we feel good, our mood is better and our bodies can make Vitamin D for healthy teeth and bones.  But there are even more important reasons why we all need the sun. 

Without sunlight we humans, and most other animals, would not survive.  This is because the moment the sun stops shining photosynthesis stops in plants. 

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their food.  If a plant can no longer make food for themselves, they die. The animals that eat plants then die, and the animals, like us, that eat those animals soon die off too. So, you see, sunlight is essential to our survival.

Solar Energy

The sun's energy, also known as solar energy, can be turned into electricity and heat that we can use in our homes.  This is done with solar panels.  

Solar energy has two big benefits over fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. First, fossil fuels can be used up, whereas there is an endless supply of sunlight, it is known as a renewable energy. Second, solar energy does not cause pollution, like burning fossil fuels does.

Questions

1) What vitamin does the sun help our bodies make?

2) What is photosynthesis?

3) What is another name for the sun's energy?

4) Name three fossil fuels.

5) Give two reasons why the sun is a good source of energy for us to use. 

Send us pictures or videos of what you have done. Ask your parents to help you send them to rte.ie/learn

Experiment - How to Make a Solar Oven

We usually use gas or electricity to cook food but with this homemade oven you'll be able to use solar energy instead. 

What you will need:

A box e.g. takeaway pizza box, scissors (or get an adult to use a box cutter), sticky tape, clingfilm, black paper, newspaper, ruler, thermometer, some food to cook or heat up.  

1) Use a scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the box. 

2) Cover the inner side of the flap with tin foil and tape it securely to the back. Make sure the tin foil is as smooth as possible.  This flap will reflect the sun's rays down into the box. 

3) Use clear clingfilm to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter the box. Tape a double layer of clingfilm over the opening in the lid. Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely.  

4) Line the bottom of the box with black paper—black absorbs heat. To insulate your oven so it holds in more heat, roll up sheets of newspaper and form a border around the edges of the box.  The lid should still be able to close once the newspaper is in place.

5) The best hours to set up your solar oven are when the sun is high overhead—from 11 am to 3 pm. Take your oven outside to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the tin foil and onto the plastic-covered window. Use a ruler or wooden spoon to prop the flap at the right angle. 

6) One of the most delicious things you could try making in your new oven are s'mores. Chocolatey, marshmallowy melty yumminess!  

You’ll need

Plain crispy biscuits (e.g Marietta or rich tea), bar of chocolate and marshmallows. 

1) Preheat your solar oven for about half an hour; if you have a thermometer put it in now too so you can watch the temperature rise.  

2) Place your biscuits on a glass dish and put a marshmallow on each.  It will take about 30 – 60 minutes for the marshmallow to get nice and oozy.  

3) When you think it’s ready, open the oven and place a piece of chocolate on each marshmallow and put back in oven for another few minutes until the chocolate starts to melt.  

4) Take the dish out carefully with oven gloves.  

5) Place another biscuit on top of the chocolate and marshmallow to make a sandwich, squish it together and NOM!

  

Send us pictures or videos of what you have done. Ask your parents to help you send them to rte.ie/learn

Answers – 1) Vitamin D 2) Photosynthesis is the process by which plants make their food 3) solar energy 4) coal, oil, and natural gas 5) There is an endless supply of sunlight and it does not cause pollution.