I’m So Hot – Solar Oven Inquiry

I chose to customize a project on solar ovens. Last year with my grade 3 students we looked at solar energy and conducted an inquiry project with solar ovens. The topic of solar energy was schoolwide and led to our BC Green Games project (which we ended up winning! You can find more information on my class blog post, here). Originally I found What Impacts Global Climate Change? (ID 9028), but then shortly after I found Solar Radiation and Solar Ovens (ID 19409). The Solar Radiation and Solar Ovens appears to be an updated version of the Global Climate Change project, with more current features and focused more towards solar ovens. When I went to use the Authoring Tool, however, it would not come up, only the first one. I decided to customize the first one, even though I would want to use the second one. I added a cute video I found, starring ‘Frank the Photon’, who was a big hit among my students.

Depending on the length of the study, I am also tempted to add an element of claymation/stop motion for my students to further explore the topic. Both activities of creating a stop motion video and designing and building a solar oven to test are scaffolding with opportunities for students to Question, Hypothesize, Investigate, Analyze, Model, and Evaluate (Kim & Hannafin, 2011).

I found the Authoring Tool in WISE very simple to use, I just wish I could have used it for the newer project! My version is now ID 19751. While I do really like the features in WISE that allow students to collect “Ideas” both publicly and privately, I would also add a community element into a project I used so that students could be building a shared understanding. Using a class blog, or Google Classroom, or even a padlet to facilitate a group discussion would be beneficial. As Kim & Hannafin (2011) point out, “social-networking technologies foster a wide range of opportunities for scientists to collaborate and build knowledge simultaneously through distributed reasoning” (p. 414).

Another video I would add into the project was the Story Bots song, “I’m So Hot”, hence my catchy title ;). I look forward to further exploring WISE!

Kim, M. C., & Hannafin, M. J. (2011). Scaffolding problem solving in technology-enhanced learning environments (TELEs): Bridging research and theory with practice. Computers & Education, 56(2), 403-417.


  1. Thank you Allison for the videos and further detail on how you would teach the topic of solar ovens, integrating digital technology such as WISE. As “designers” we can co-create technology-enhanced experiences with and for our students. I did wish to inquire about this idea of “distributed reasoning” that you raised from the Kim and Hannafin article. From your perspective, what do you think is meant by that and how could it be fostered in your project?

    Congratulations on the BC Green Games win!

    1. Hi Samia,
      In my opinion, I take “distributed reasoning” to mean a collective means of coming to common understandings. How this applies to my class project of solar ovens would be to provide a platform for students to collaborate and share thoughts to create a shared understanding of materials that would make an effective solar oven based on our learning throughout the term/unit/study.


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