Child holding a flashlight under a blanket

Scavenger hunt: find the light!

physicsVincent Harrison / Science Museum of Minnesota / Twin Cities Public TelevisionApr 3, 2020

Every young person is a potential scientist!

Ask, imagine, plan, create, test, improve . . . and then try again!

It’s about being curious, creative, and wanting to play!

First, watch this great video to get in the scientist mindset: The Case of the Mysterious Molecule.

Now you’re ready to practice being a scientist! Check out this activity that you can do with materials found around your home.

Let’s Find It!

For this project you’ll need:

  • A flashlight (or a phone with a flashlight, a headlamp, etc.)

  • Things around your room, home, a park—anywhere!

10 things that reflect light (light from the flashlight bounces back at you)

10 things that absorb light (light doesn’t bounce back)

10 translucent things (light can pass through them)

10 things that are opaque (light can’t pass through them)

Let’s Talk About It!

What went well? What were your challenges?

  • Which things were easy to find?

  • Which things were hard to find?

  • Did the light do two of these things with any of the objects?

Let’s Figure It Out!

What’s the difference between these things?

  • Are there things that worked better for some challenges than others? What type of material are they made from (metal, fabric, wood)?

  • Did the distance between the object and the flashlight make a difference?

  • Does it make a difference if the lights in the room are on or off?

Bonus challenge!

  • Fill a glass with water, and draw an arrow on a piece of paper.

  • Move the card behind the glass and see if you can make the arrow flip!

How did your experiments go?

We hope you had fun with this scavenger hunt!

We want to see your creations and hear your results. Share your results on social media using #ShareYourDiscovery and let us know how things went!

And while you're at it, give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for even more science learning opportunities, fun facts, and behind-the-scenes at the museum.