Friday, April 15, 2011

How many colors do you see?

How many colors do you see?
You may think there's 4 (or more), but there's only 3!

This lesson making a color optical illusion came out April 2003 School Arts magazine.

It's really easy to do. Three colors are chosen, two "dark" and one "light". The dark colors are labeled "A" and "B", and the light color is "C".

A simple shape, no bigger than a quarter, is cut out of the A paper and glued (use a good glue-stick) on the B paper. The B paper is then cut in the same shape, larger by 1/8", then back to the A. The entire color pattern is:
A-B-A-B-A-B-C,
B-A-B-A-B-A-C,
A-B-A-B-A-B-C,
B-A... until you run out of paper.

The big thing to be careful about is not to skip all over your paper gluing and cutting. You will run out of paper. Start at a corner, and try to snug it in nice and close each time you glue it down to cut again.


By the way - I have the kids LABEL their papers, and write the pattern on the C paper, crossing off each time they cut out a new layer.

It may be hard to see the illusion on the blog post, but trust me, if you hang these up and stand back a few feet, it works! When I started the lesson, I held up some samples and had kids raise their hands and ID colors they saw in them. They would list as many as 6 or 7 colors, most of which were not actually there at all. Your eyes do color mixing based on the colors that are placed next to each other. It's a good color lesson!

7 comments:

  1. By the way - I'm now using firefox as my browser rather than internet explorer, and it seems to be helping with my spacing problems with blogger. Interesting..

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  2. I had problems with Internet Explorer also and now I am using Google Chrome.

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  3. Yes, I had to switch to Google Chrome to do any posting or even blog commenting as well.

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  4. I did these with 5th graders, but I've done it previously w/grade 6. Some of the 5th graders had trouble measuring 1/8" - yikes!! It never occurred to me it was such a challenge. I actually marked off 1/8" on several rulers to help them out. Maybe it's just the specific group of kids...

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  5. I wonder if it would work with markers as well?

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  6. Congrats on 200 followers!!! Don't have time for a puzzle but wanted to say how cool!

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