Materials List: Design and Test Model Solar Water Heaters

Each group needs:

  • 30 cm of aquarium tubing
  • Cardboard toilet paper tube (ask students to bring from home)
  • Aluminum foil (size = length of paper tube x ½ its diameter)
  • 1 self-adhesive fastener for binding holed paper, to hold the tubing in place (available at office supply stores) (alternative materials could be used, such as hot glue, or small cut and glued pieces of corrugated cardboard or plastic comb binding)
  • 2 brass brad fasteners (or staples or glue)
  • 1 Styrofoam cup
  • Scissors
  • Ruler (for measuring cardboard tube and foil)
  • Solar Water Heater Worksheet, one per student

At each light station:

  • 1 gooseneck lamp (using a 100 W bulb)
  • 1 measuring cup (or jar with volumes marked, beaker or graduated cylinder)
  • 1 small jar for collecting the water (or use another Styrofoam cup)
  • A thick book and a thin book (to make step-like stands)
  • A non-mercury thermometer

For the entire class to share:

  • Black paint
  • Sunglasses (optional; one for each student if the activity is done outside; at least one per team if using a lamp; ask the students to bring their own)
  • Modeling clay (optional; may help to keep the tubing poked in the cup from leaking)
  • Protective table covering

Reuse/recycling/disposal note: Recycle the cardboard toilet paper tubes, removing the self-adhesive fastener first. Recycle or reuse the aluminum foil. Fold the foil flat (not into a ball) if recycling. Save (and reuse) the tubing, brad fasteners, Styrofoam cups and jars.