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Building a Solar Oven: A Real-World, Interdisciplinary Project for K-12 Students
Monday, September 27, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm EDT
Presented by Jennifer Gasser, Business Development Consultant, Solar Education Project; and Mary Buchenic, Education Director, Solar Education Project
Sponsored by CoderZ
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Academic lessons, taught within the context of life experiences, provide a richness and depth of understanding for students that is impactful personally, cognitively, and socially. To achieve this kind of impact, Jennifer Gasser and Mary Buchenic of the Solar Education Project will propose a wonderful FREE education project — the solar oven. Solar ovens use concentrated sunlight directed at a cooking surface or into a cooking space to cook all types of foods using a variety of methods.
By introducing this tool to students and incorporating solar cooking into the curriculum, students embrace and explore not only STEM but other disciplines as well—social science, geography, political science, language arts, art, and more. Solar cookers lend themselves perfectly to lessons that are inquiry based, project based, and interdisciplinary. Students are motivated by the personal and real-world implications of solar cooking, and they love the fact that, with creativity and understanding of fundamental physical science concepts, they can design and engineer an oven capable of cooking a meal with sunlight.
Through innovative, hands-on lessons, Solar Education Project (SEP) helps students develop skills in STEM and other disciplines as well. Global acceptance of solar cooking begins at home. Cooking for ourselves and others shows that solar cooking is fun, safe, and a means to make delicious foods everywhere! SEP works to share this technology wherever the sun shines—from Skyping with classrooms across the United States to on-site work in Haiti and Pakistan to programs they support in Kenya.
View this edWebinar to learn how to incorporate a global perspective to a multitude of interdisciplinary subjects and approaches, learn about options for bringing Jennifer and Mary, “The Solar Sisters,” to your campus this year, and access a wealth of resources that let you bring solar cooking to your classroom with lesson plans, experiments, and more!
This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers, librarians, and school leaders of the elementary through high school levels.
About the Presenters
Jennifer Gasser is Co-Founder and Business Development Consultant at the Solar Education Project, formed in 2016 under the nonprofit Global Development Solutions. Jennifer’s experience in business provides an important perspective for her efforts to promote solar cooking. Jennifer is an Associate with Solar Cookers International (SCI), a nonprofit based in Sacramento, CA. She also serves as a Representative to the United Nations for SCI. Through teamwork and collaboration, Jennifer aims to promote solar cookers as tools for education, wellness, economic empowerment, and ecosystem recovery.
Mary Buchenic’s experience using solar cookers as educational tools for STEM and cross-curricular education convinced her that solar cookers had an important place in the classroom. After retiring from teaching, Mary sought opportunities to promote the use of solar cookers as educational tools through various conference presentations, including Solar Cookers International’s (SCI) first webinar in 2015, Engaging Students in Cross-Curricular Solar Cooking Lessons.
In 2016, Mary co-founded the Solar Education Project (SEP) with the nonprofit, Global Development Solutions. The SEP team provides solar-cooking-themed educational resources, programming, and support to area schools and organizations. Mary annually presents a day of solar cooking for Pakistani and U.S. students enrolled in Learning Streams International’s Summer Ecology Program at Hiram College. Since 2016, Mary has worked with Haitian partners to deliver solar-cooking-themed lessons and accompanying hands-on materials to schools in Haiti.
Mary was an advocate for SCI at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in 2018 and 2019. She enjoys the interactions that allow for a fuller understanding of people’s interests in clean cooking technology. Her belief in the transformative power of education motivates her to continue promoting solar cooking whenever and wherever she can.
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Grounded in math, physics, and engineering, CoderZ trains students grades 4 and up in computational thinking and technical ability. It challenges them with real-world problem-solving to develop a growth mindset. Together, we can help kids power up their futures with STEM.