Saturday, July 25, 2009

30 Second Science - Optic Top

The idea for this experiment came from the A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village website, here.

Cut out a number of circles from card stock, or paper glued to thin cardboard, like a cereal box.
We used a round lid for a guide.

Draw lines through the center of the circle to divide it into fourths, or eighths.

Color in the "pie" pieces in different colors. We used primary colors.

Stick a sharpened pencil through the center of the circle.

Spin the circle, and pencil, like a top. You might need to balance it between your fingers as it spins, to keep it from falling over, and you'll want to place a paper underneath, or you'll be drawing on your table.

Watch the colors as the top spins. The colors merge together.

It's a similar effect to what we saw with the thaumatropes we made a few months ago, except that it only suggests color to the brain. What I mean by this, is that each of the children in our house, saw the color differently. Using our disk that was half red, a quarter blue, and a quarter yellow, one child saw orange, one saw green, and one saw the colors underneath, with a glowing green over the top.

Scientists are still a little unsure as to what goes on between the brain and the eyes, that cause this optical illusion. It's the tip an interesting iceberg of study into neuroscience - but that's matter for another post.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

No comments: