SOUTH GLENDALE — Carol Gregory's students at Glendale Unified's summer camp wanted to begin their solar experiments in the shade Tuesday.
"That's not going to work, will it?" the teacher said.
The students caught on quickly. Beginning with small fans, 9-year-old Cassandra Aleman experimented with solar cells in the shade and in direct sunlight. She connected another half-volt cell to the fan and noted the uptick in its rotations.
"It's at full power," she said, standing in the sun. "It's shaking from the speed."
By the end of the day, the students will have made cornbread in a solar oven. By the end of the week, they'll have taken home a solar-powered pizza box oven, powerful enough to bake cookies.
Solar cells, ovens, lunchboxes and kits are on the rise at some Glendale Unified campuses. Teachers have increasingly seen solar experiments as a way to excite students about learning and prepare them for college or careers, said April Faieta, who helped start the student-run Earth Club at Keppel Elementary School last year.