ALEX Lesson Plan


Perfect Perception? (Perception and Illusion)

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sharon Williams
System: Cherokee County
School: Gaylesville High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 12768


Perfect Perception? (Perception and Illusion)


Students are introduced to perception puzzles to encourage discovery of symmetry, eye and mind connection, and manipulation of perception. This lesson could be a springboard to lessons in art, math, and science. Included are websites that will be useful to both the student and the teacher.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
AED (2006)
Grade: 6-8
Visual Arts
1 ) Create works of art utilizing a variety of traditional and nontraditional media and techniques.

Examples: torn-paper collage, weaving, wire sculpture, clay relief

•  Applying steps artists use in the production of art, including conceptualizing ideas and forms, refining ideas and forms, and reflecting on and evaluating both the process of production and the product
•  Applying the elements of art and principles of design to the production of two- and three-dimensional artwork

-  two-dimensional--monochromatic paintings, found or natural object prints, texture-rubbing compositions;

-  three-dimensional--papier-mâchè masks, clay whistles

•  Creating original multimedia works of art
Examples: television broadcasts, digital imaging, multimedia presentations

•  Creating original works of art using observational skills
Examples: drawing a shoe; painting a still life; creating a landscape in mixed-media; creating timed, gesture studies of a figure

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will demonstrate an application of optical illusion by reproducing the bird in a cage illusion. Students will relate natural illusion with manipulated illusion. Students will discover that perception can be fooled. Students will extend perception of persistence by creating an illusion of his/her own.

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Various pictures of optical illusions, index cards: 1 per student, plastic mirrors: 1 per student, frayons or colored pencils, safety scissors, tape or glue, string (yarn) about a foot for each student, flip-book (necessary materials would be a small stack of paper or notepad and writing instrument), spoon, glass: 1 per student, science journals

Technology Resources Needed:

Computers with Internet access, color printer, LCD Projector


Students should have been introduced to the importance of observation to scientific method.

1.)Invite students to talk about a time when they "thought" they saw one thing and it turned out to be something quite different. Explain that perception and conception may be two different things. What we perceive we see, may not in truth be what we see. Use an example of seeing a student in the principal's office. We may perceive that the student is in "trouble" when in reality the student may be receiving congratulations on achieving a goal.
(Knowledge In Perception)
Contains teacher material to provide background information about concept and perception, brain and physical illusion.

2.)Give each student a mirror. Ask students what they see?
Many will answer they see themselves.
Ask if they are in the mirror?
Many will still answer yes. Explain that the teacher thought each students was sitting in his/her classroom.
Lead the students to discover that while they may perceive themselves to be in the mirror; they are in fact in the classroom.

3.)Everyday Illusions.
Through observation we see illusions in the natural world around us. Ask students if they remember seeing a rainbow. Students should respond that they have. Then ask if they know the legend about the pot at the end of the rainbow. After explaining the legend (if some are not familiar with the legend) ask if they think that they could ever reach the end of the rainbow. Have them explain their responses.
Then ask if the rainbow always moves farther away as we move toward it? Why?
Explain that the rainbow is not the illusion but that the distance to the rainbow is an illusion.

4.)Ask students if they have ever seen a mirage. Recall images of water in the desert, heat rising from the road in summer and such. Explain that mirages are caused by refraction of light between the object and the eye which displaces objects or parts of objects.
Demonstrate the bent spoon in water illusion by placing a spoon in a clear plastic glass of water. Divide students into groups. Have them place pencils in their glasses of water. Students should observe and write about what they see in their science journals.

5.)Show students optical illusions by holding up pictures or by using one of the optical illusion websites. The website listed below has the hollow face illusion.
(Grand Illustions)
This site illustrates optical illusions.

6.)Have students draw a cage in the middle of an index card. On the flip side of the card, have students draw a bird. Attach the card to a pencil or attach string (yarn) to each side of the card. When the card is rotated or flipped the bird should appear in the cage. Let students discover the right way to draw the bird and the cage in order that one is not upside down.
Have students prepare a flip-book to illustrate persistence of vision. Some choices to draw would be a frog jumping or eating a fly, a stick figure running, a dog wagging his tail, a piece of ice melting.
Scroll down to "Links to Animations" for various animated illusions.

7.)Share the dragon illusion with students by reading or having students read the information from the following website. Then give each cooperative learning group/student a copy of the dragon to put together and recreate the illusion.
(The Dragon Illusion)
This website has the material to download to make the necessary components so that the students may make their own illusions. Follow the instructions exactly in order for everything to work correctly.

8.)Additional Optical Illusion Website: (another good site for students to explore)
This site has many illusions for the eye.


Assessment Strategies

The teacher will assess students' application of optical illusion by having them reproduce the bird in a cage illusion. The teacher will check students' science journals for understanding. The teacher will assess students' flip books to see if they illustrate optical illusions.


Students could develop their own optical illusions or compare and contrast illusion and deception.



Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.