Science Fair

Jocelyn Mendoza

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Research Plan

A. I am trying to test which type of D.I.Y. solar heater can melt chocolate the fastest without the use of electricity. By doing so, I will be creating a mechanism that can heat food without electricity or fire easily and be testing whether the black vs. white absorption of sunlight is true.

B. If the color of the paper darkens then the chocolate will melt faster.



One medium sized pizza box (as clean as possible)

Writing pencil or pen

12-inch ruler

Utility knife (with supervision of an adult)

One box of aluminum foil

One box of plastic wrap

One bottle of white school glue

One roll of shipping tape or black electrical tape

A sheet of colored paper

Two wooden skewers or pencils (preferably un-sharpened)

Warm, sunny day (If project is done in winter use lamp or light that has the same amount of light on each of the boxes in experiment)

One mini Hershey chocolate

all items will be x(# of boxes used in experiment)

---In this experiment I will be using 3 boxes with one sheet of black, orange, and white paper to test which color will melt the chocolate bar the fastest---


1. On the top of the pizza box's lid draw a square that is about one inch from each edge.

2. (With adult supervision) Carefully cut along each side of the square that is drawn EXCEPT for the side that runs along the hinge of the box. Cut all the way through the cardboard on the three sides of the square. Then fold the flap gently along the attached side.

3. Line the inside of the cardboard flap with aluminum foil. Fold the edges of the foil over the flap to help hold the foil in place and glue the foil onto the flap. Try your best to make sure the foil is as smooth as possible for best results.

4. Cover the opening made by the flap (in the lid) with a layer of plastic wrap. Attach the plastic wrap to the opening's edges using tape. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic wrap and that all of its edges are COMPLETELY attached to the lid.

5. Line the inside of the box with aluminum foil so that when you shut the box the entire interior is coated with foil. It is easier to do this by covering he bottom of the box with foil and then covering the inside part of the lid (going around the plastic covered opening) with foil. Then glue the foil in place.

6. Glue or tape a sheet of (any color of your choice) paper at the bottom of the box, centered there. This will be considered the solar collector.

7. Use a wooden skewer or pencil (and some tape) to prop the solar oven's lid up at about a 90° angle from the rest of the box to let the sun in. Repeat on both sides of box.

8. Lastly, leave the solar oven outside on a nice, sunny day and record results. (If using heat lamp then place underneath lamp in the best bright place in house or outside)


Depending on project: (Repeat this until all types of colored paper testing are used)

---In this project I will repeat this two more times with black, white, and orange paper---

Clean Up Procedure:

Once experiment is over and data has been recorded, please dispose of the box(es) in dumpster. In case of melted chocolate leaking, consider using a cup or bowl to help conceal the dripping chocolate. Also dispose of bowl.

Risk and Safety:

It is best to keep about two to three feet of distance between you and the solar oven while observing to A) not block the sun and B)steer clear of harming yourself. If using a lamp please USE CAUTION. Do not touch glass or light bulb and refrain from touching any other hot surfaces. It is best to let lamp cool off after about ten minutes from turning lamp off. It is also best to use gloves whenever possible. Please refrain from chemical lamps and any other skin hazardous materials.

Data Analysis:

During experimentation it is best to record times when chocolate bar is fully melted and “Hershey” is no longer visible. You can then create multiple tables, graphs, and charts from the data. After experimentation is over it is best to go back and analyze data. Average the amounts and see which oven did moderately better. This outcome will help lead to solving the problem that was first introduced.



1. “Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Power, Facts about Solar Power.” Advantages of Solar Power, Facts about Solar Power. Web. 16 Oct. 2015

2. Brown, Eric W. An Introduction To Solar Energy. Print.

3. "How Solar Energy Works." Union of Concerned Scientists. Web. 16 Oct. 2015. <>.

4. Kornher, Steve, and Andy Zaugg. “Chapter 2.” The Complete Handbook of Solar Air Heating Systeams: How to Design and Build Efficient, Economical Systems for Heating Your Home. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale, 1984. Print.

5. "SOLAR ENERGY FACTS." RSS. Web. 16 Oct. 2015. <>.


Independent Variable: Colored Paper {Black, Orange, and White}

Constants: size of box, amount of light, amount of chocolate, type of chocolate, amount of tin foil, amount of plastic wrap, type of tin foil, type of plastic wrap, angle of box lid, location

Dependent Variable: time it takes to melt

Winter Sun

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Black Chocolate Trail 1

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Orange Chocolate Trial 2

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White Chocolate Trail 3

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Data Table

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Black: about 118.66 minutes to melt

Orange:about 122 minutes to melt

White: about 128.66 minutes to melt

Error Analysis

A model is, after all, just a model. There will almost always be some sort of flaw. It is in everybody's best interest to be as close to accurate as you possibly can be. There are many things that can happen: foil breaks, foil folds, plastic wrap folds, tape falls off, glue doesn't work all too well, the box could be taped at a weird angle, the box could rip. Literally anything can happen, but if you can truthfully say that you've done the best you can to make this project function appropriately, then that should be okay. The main point is to always try your best to get as accurate as possible even with the forces being against you.


This experiment tested whether or not black actually absorbs more light than white by testing how fast chocolate will melt. If the color of the paper gets darker, then the chocolate will melt faster. Black absorbs all wavelengths of light, meanwhile white reflects some of the wavelengths causing it to be harder to convert light into heat as well as the black paper can.

After about two hours all of the chocolate in each oven was melted. The black melted first, then orange, then white. Although there was one trial where orange melted faster than the black but the averages proved that black had, in fact, the best outcome of the three.

My hypothesis was correct, black does absorb the most light to convert into heat energy. The averages showed highly in favor of black, but orange did try to take the lead during one trial where it created a “water ring” around the chocolate and melted faster than the black papered oven. It is definitely hard to make sure all constants are put into action but the experiment was as accurate as possible.

This experiment can help advance your knowledge and answer questions many curios Cathy’s would want to know. it’s a great gateway to the world of really camping out and seeing just how much solar power you can use. Many people who study solar power can also benefit from this project by being the start to many solar panel themed inventions. It’s a great start for anybody who’s interested.

Polar Express: Hot Chocolate REQUESTED!