Friday, October 5, 2012

Optical Illusions; Thaumatropes

We talked a lot during this week about how our senses can be tricked or misled through various methods. The children really enjoyed our day on Optical Illusions. We studied M.C. Escher and Julian Beever, and looked at several simple optical illusions like the ones above. It's pretty amazing how easily our eyes can be fooled!
We had tons of fun making thaumatropes; in fact, we could hardly get ourselves to stop! We found the instructions in one of our library books, and I can't find something exactly like it online. (There are lots of tutorials for this kind, though.) For ours, we took 3x5 index cards and cut them in half. We drew a small picture on one side, and then, exactly opposite it on the other side (we held the cards up to the window if we needed to see through), we drew another picture that would interact with the first one. So, for example, our first side was a small fish, and the second side was a fishbowl big enough to contain him. We taped the two half-cards back to back on a straw. The idea is that when you spin the straw back and forth between your hands fast enough, your eyes combine the pictures and the fish goes into the bowl!

The fish went so nicely into his bowl that we began to burst with other ideas. You can see that we made a whole bunch! Here are some of the other pictures the children came up with:
A baby penguin standing on his daddy penguin's feet
A cat walking on top of a fence
The "Y" appearing on Y Mountain
A cookie going into a person's mouth
A rainbow appearing in a cloud
A cloud of ash emerging from a volcano
A bear going into his cave
A bird going into his nest
A monkey going into his tree
A bunny going into his hat

These thaumatropes were so cute! We loved playing with them.

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