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Persistence of vision puts your name together

Light: Demonstrating the Persistence of Vision

Sunshine State Standards: SC.F.1.2 SC.H.1.2 SC.H.2.2

Materials:

  • White disc of Paper
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • White Cardboard Disc
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil
  • Rubber Bands

To Know:
When you see a moving object, that object persists in your vision for a short time. Your eye and brain work together to hold a set of brief images which will form a complete picture in your mind. Consequently, if you see parts of a pattern rapidly in sequence, the whole pattern will be visible to you in your mind due to persistence.

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To Do and Notice:

  • Make a vertical dotted line from top to bottom of the cardboard disk.
  • Mark the left side of the cardboard disk with the letter “L”.
  • Turn the cardboard disk over, draw another vertical line and mark the right side of the back of the cardboard disk with the letter “R”.

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  • Make a vertical line down the center of the white disk of paper.
  • Write your name in bold, capital letters, across the line, on the white disk of paper.
  • Cut the paper disk in half vertically along the line, cutting your name into two pieces
  • Glue the left half on top of the side of the cardboard disk marked “L” line up the straight, vertical cut edge of the paper half circle with the vertical line drawn on the cardboard disk.
  • Glue the right half side of the paper disk on top of the side of the cardboard disk marked “R” line up the straight, vertical cut edge of the paper half circle with the vertical line drawn on the cardboard disk.

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  • Put the rubber bands through the two holes and loop through to form handles on each side
  • You will be able to hold the disk by your thumb and fingers using the handles.
  • Now twirl the disk by holding the two rubber bands and spinning them between your thumb and finger.
  • As you rapidly twirl the disk front to back you should see your name back together again.

What’s Happening?

  • Your eyes and your brain retain a visual impression for about 1/30th of a second.
  • A person’s ability to retain a visual impression is called “Persistence of Vision”.
  • As you spin the disk your eye and your brain combine the two images they see.
  • Spinning the disk rapidly, front to back, produces a single “image” in your mind.

Learn more…

Developed by the GE Volunteers in partnership with the Museum of Arts and Sciences (MOAS) – Daytona Beach, FL