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Using Heat from the Sun

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


  • Encourage the students to ask additional questions and think of variations for the experiment.
  • Have students compare the levels of heat absorption among cups of different colors. Or have them examine the effects on water temperature when they place cups on a reflector made of aluminum foil, on black paper (which absorbs heat), on a grassy surface, and/or on a paved surface.
  • Challenge students to design their own solar water heaters. Have them draw their designs and/or build their heaters from recycled materials.
  • In the story, Mr. Slaptail’s Curious Contraption, Mr. Slaptail builds a solar water heater to supply his house with hot water. Ask students, Do you think that this is a practical use of solar power? Encourage students to conduct research in the library or on the Internet to learn what they can about houses that use power from the sun for heat, electricity and/or hot water.


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