Week 1: The Magic of Heat Transfer

Have you ever noticed a lot of campfire recipes use aluminum foil? Here’s why:

1. It's really good at conducting heat.

This means when it heats up, the heat energy is quickly transferred to other parts of the aluminum foil. Think about the shape of aluminum foil — very thin and used in big sheets with lots of surface area. This combination means the heat has lots of places to go. So even though it does get hot, the heat is always being moved around over all that surface area.

2. It cools down fast.

You may notice adults will sometimes touch aluminum foil with their fingers very soon after it’s removed from the oven, grill or campfire (something kids should never try.) Again, that’s because heat energy transfers through — and out of — aluminum foil really quickly.

3. Solid pieces of metal don't burn easily.

Aluminum foil doesn’t catch on fire in an oven, on the grill or even in a campfire. It can burn, however — though sparklers actually use aluminum as their fuel. In a sparkler, the aluminum is in a powdered form. That makes the atoms way more available for burning than they are in a solid sheet of metal (like aluminum foil).

4. Oxygen from the air isn't enough to start a metal fire.

We may think of the air we breathe as oxygen, but it’s actually mostly nitrogen! Powdered metal needs really high concentrations of oxygen to start burning once it gets close to a flame.

Cinnamon Roll Oranges

Check out this fun way to bake cinnamon rolls inside oranges, wrapped in aluminum foil. The foil keeps the oranges from burning, and the oranges keep the cinnamon rolls nice and moist.

What You'll Need:

  • 8-count tube of cinnamon rolls
  • 6 oranges, any variety
  • Spoon
  • Sharp knife (adults only!)
  • Oven, grill, fire pit or campfire
  • Tongs

What You'll Do:

1. Adults: Preheat the oven to 500°F or fire up the grill, fire pit or campfire.

Slice the tops off the oranges

2. Adults: Slice the tops off the oranges.

Scoop

3. Kids: Scoop out the orange pulp.

Insert cinnamon

4. Kids: Insert cinnamon; place the top back on.

Wrap each orange in aluminum

5. Kids: Wrap each orange in aluminum foil.

Slice the tops off the oranges

2. Adults: Slice the tops off the oranges.

Scoop

3. Kids: Scoop out the orange pulp.

Insert cinnamon

4. Kids: Insert cinnamon; place the top back on.

Wrap each orange in aluminum

5. Kids: Wrap each orange in aluminum foil.

6. Adults: Bake about 15 minutes directly on oven rack, over medium heat on the grill, or 3–4 inches away from glowing embers with no flames in a fire pit or campfire.

7. Adults: Use tongs to remove from oven, grill or fire. When cool enough to handle, remove aluminum foil and let cool for 5 minutes.

8. Kids: Remove orange tops, add icing and dig in. Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any!).

Looking for more kid-friendly activities to do at home this summer? Check out our other Adventure Kids Camp activities!