Measure the Speed of Light Using Microwaves and Chocolate

Measure the Speed of Light Using a Microwave and Chocolate

For this activity, students will be measuring the speed of light using some common household items; a microwave and chocolate. This fun and relatively simple method of measuring one of the most important numbers in scientific history demonstrates the relationship between the speed of light, frequency and wavelength both conceptually and in its mathematical form of c = fλ. What this equation tells us is that the speed of light is equal to the wavelength (λ) multiplied by the frequency (f) of an electromagnetic wave (microwaves and visible light are both examples of electromagnetic waves).

Resources Needed:

  • Microwave oven
  • Chocolate bar
  • Plate (can be paper)
  • Ruler
60 mins

Age Suitability: 
11 to 14
14 to 16
16 to 18