Curiosity and Science

I have a particular curious boy, not that the others aren’t but he constantly wants to know, to find out and loves trying things for himself. So a few weeks ago this meant him asking how to find the speed of light, at the time we were on the way to school. We seem to have the best discussions at strange times. Anyway I promised to help him find out after school. At times like this Google is my best friend.


We found out, the internet can tell you many things, but that wasn’t enough, my curious boy wanted to know how ‘he’ could measure it. (I love that I can type in a search engine and inspire his curiosity.) We found a set of STEM challenge cards from the James Dyson Foundation full of science and engineering challenges. Number 13 is how to measure the speed of light.


Easy to follow instructions and can be done in the kitchen, just perfect. Using an upturned plate, a chocolate bar, a microwave and we were doing science. My curious boy was loving it, we watched the chocolate start to melt and then measured between the melted points.

Speed of light with chocolate

But at first we forgot to follow all instructions and change our measurement into metres so that didn’t work. Try again, this time we did change the measurement but it still didn’t look right. Not sure what we did wrong, but that’s what experimenting is about, testing and asking questions. Not to be beaten we decided to work in centimetres and change it at the end. We followed the remaining instructions and divided the answer at the end. It worked!

Measure the speed of light

Okay, it wasn’t exact but pretty close and best of all my curious boy was happy. Even more so when he got to eat the melted chocolate.

Any Good?

Yes. The challenge cards are great, we did make a slight change but that was nothing. I want my children to question things, ask why?, how?, what for?, what happens if?. Children should learn to problem solve.

We’ve already chosen the next one to do.

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