Spinning Disk Illusion

Good evening scientists. We just had another cold front hit so we decided to do a Snowman experiment by creating a cool optical illusion.

MaterialsSpinning Disk Illusion (1)

Spinning Disk Illusion (Click to download)

String or Yarn


Crayons OR Markers Or Colored Pencils

Single Hole Punch


  1. Print out the Spinning Disk Illusion Handout and have your little scientist color in the parts of the snowman that they want.

2. Cut out the two circles from the handout and put one of the circles right side up. Place the second circle on the back, snowman side out and turn it upside down. (See picture below). I flipped the second one over after lining them up. Try to make sure that the upside down snowman is lined up a closely to the right side up side as you can, ours ended up being a tiny bit off.

3. Punch a hole on one side of the circle. Punch a second hole directly across from the first.Spinning Disk Illusion (22) 4. Pull your string out straight and cut two equal pieces of string. Place one string into the first hole and fold over tying the ends together in a knot. Repeat with the second piece of string on the second hole.

5. Wind up the strings by holding each string in one hand and twirling the disc around and around.Spinning Disk Illusion (46) 6. Pull the strings tight and the disk will start to turn quickly. You should see a combination of the two images. (Ours was a little bit off when I lined up the two halves)

Talking Points

The secret to the Spinning Disc Illusion is our brain. The brain is the organ that is the command center of the body. When you spin the disc our brain sees both halves of the drawing but it is moving so quickly that our brains can no longer see two images instead it sees one blended image. This is the same things that happens when we watch an animated cartoon. The pictures change so quickly that our brain puts them together to create the animated moving image.

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