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Learn how motion pictures work by making a ‘Thaumatrope’

Suitable For

Grade 2



Time Required

 <1 Hour



What’s it about?

We all love going to the movie theater to watch the latest cartoon or movie, but did you ever wonder how this all works? All motion pictures are actually ‘still’ drawings or photographs recorded on film by special cameras and then projected in sequence rapidly onto a movie screen. Your ‘vision’ is your brain and eyes working together to make you believe the images on the screen are moving! Try the following science experiment to learn more about the concept of motion pictures:

Topics covered

Retina, Persistence of vision

What will I need?


Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

This science experiment works as a result of your hands being able to spin the drawings around faster than your eye can see. Your eyes sees the first drawing for a fraction of a second, and then the next drawing appears before your eyes have a chance to react. The first image is retained on the ‘retina’ of your eye for a fraction of a second (about 1/20 of a second) in a process called ‘persistence of vision’. Because of the ‘persistence of vision’ phenomenon, you do not see two separate images, but one image that contains both drawings.

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