Join students Sophie, Tomás, Emma, and Marcus during Fifth Period! This STEM comic strip chronicles the exciting and often hilarious adventures of a close-knit group of four friends as they learn about science, technology, engineering, and math from their kooky, inspiring, off-the-wall science teacher, Mr. Kepler. When they're not in class, these kids love to explore the vast world of STEM on their own, launching weather balloons, programming computer games, and cataloging insects, sometimes with unpredictable and highly entertaining results!
Check back on the first and third Friday of every month for a new Fifth Period strip!
Tasty Solar Power!
Sophie and Marcus know sunlight can do more than just brighten your day or give you a nasty sunburn—it can also be used to cook! Since the 1700s, people have been experimenting with converting sunlight into powerful heat. Sunlight is actually electromagnetic radiation, or waves of particles called photons. Sunlight isn't hot, but when photons pelt the atomic particles of another substance (like water, or maybe cookie dough), they cause those particles to vibrate faster—heat! When you focus the sun's rays with reflective material like tinfoil, you're increasing the amount of photons that pelt a substance, causing it to get hotter faster than it can cool—in this case, hopefully fast enough to keep up with Tomás' appetite! You'll probably want to learn more about how solar cooking works, too.
Try it yourself!
Want to harness the natural energy of the sun? You can build your own lightweight solar oven using just a few household items. Try warming up some leftover soup first, and then try other foods once you know how hot your oven gets (to figure that out, get an oven thermometer from your parents). It will take longer than a regular oven, but you aren't using any electricity to make something really tasty.