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How to Create a Mind-Boggling Optical Illusion

Submitted by on April 20, 2012 – 3:59 pmNo Comment
Sci-Tech Discovery Center - Optical Illusion

Sci-Tech Discovery Center at Home Experiments for Kids


Our brains are trained to look at patterns from a very early age. It’s how we are able to distinguish our parents from other people as well as being able to spot dangerous situations. When you see the long edge compared to the short edge of another piece, our brains quickly try to analyze the situation and conclude that the pieces are different sizes. In the following video, you can see how we transform paper into a mind-boggling, brain-fooling optical illusion!


To recreate this experiment at home, you’ll need:

• Paper
• Pencil
• Scissors
• (optional) color

1. Start drawing out your design on paper first. Follow the shape that we have on video first and then experiment from there. You’ll want to make sure that you make a curved shape so that one side is longer than the other.

EXTENSION: How can you change the design for a new optical illusion?

2. Cut out the design you made.

3. Use the piece you cut out to make an exact copy on another sheet of paper. Trace along the edges with your pencil.

4. Cut out the second design.

5. You should have two identical curved pieces like the ones on the video. (Optional) Color your paper pieces in any color you want.

EXTENSION: See if you can affect the illusion more by drawing.

6. Fool your friends.

Using a little bit of science, we can understand how our brains and eyes work together…THEN trick them into false observations!

For more fun experiments that you can try at home, visit the Sci-Tech Discovery Center You Tube page.

To learn more about fun exhibits, pre-school story times WOW! lab activities, cool summer camps, Newton’s Lab and all the other great programs that Sci-Tech Discovery Center offers, visit their website, connect with Sci-Tech on Facebook or follow Sci-Tech on Twitter.



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