Ashland Middle School students competed in the Great Solar Oven Cook-Off Friday afternoon, baking cookies and roasting hot dogs in ovens they fashioned out of shoe boxes and aluminum foil.

Ashland Middle School students competed in the Great Solar Oven Cook-Off Friday afternoon, baking cookies and roasting hot dogs in ovens they fashioned out of shoe boxes and aluminum foil.

The contest was the final exam on solar energy for seventh and eighth graders in Kristi Healy's science classes. They built and tested ovens made of cardboard pizza boxes and black inner tubes lined with foil to reflect the sun. While their snacks baked in the sun, they toured solar panels at Hunter Park used to heat swimming pool water and saw a demonstration of converting solar energy into electricity.

Healy devised the activities to teach her students about conservation, Newton's heat transfer laws, and even skin cancer.

"I was surprised at how well solar ovens work," said Ana Thomquist, who scrambled eggs and baked cupcakes in the oven she built with her sister June.

Students tracked the temperature of their ovens, and the Thomquists' recorded a high of 212 degrees Fahrenheit after about 45 minutes in the sun and accidentally overcooked their eggs, they said.

Staff writer Julie French can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or jfrench@dailytidings.com.