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Greenhouse S'Mores

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

How Does Air Get Hot?

Begin the activity by asking students, Have you ever gotten into a car that has been parked in the sun all day? Did you notice how warm the car was? Where do you think the heat inside the car came from? (The windows of the car let sunlight through, but they also do not allow heated air to escape.) 

Lead a class discussion about how the sun provides energy and heat to Earth. Remind students that the sun is our ultimate energy source and that Earth has several layers of atmosphere through which the sun’s energy must pass. 

Follow the discussion by asking, How do you think we could determine what made the air inside the car get so hot? How could learn more about light and heat? Tell students that they investigate the heat-trapping qualities of different materials by using the sun to make S’Mores (traditional campfire treats made by sandwiching a warm roasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate between two graham crackers). 

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education