Simple Science at Home – Light

A drawing of a skull with a striped backgroundOne of my favorite science museums in the world is the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
They have been very generous and posted what they call snacks that feature simpler ways of creating many of the displays you’ll find at their fabulous museum.

I would like to share a few with you that focus on the topic of light.


Bird in a Cage – an afterimage activity. You stare at the image and when the background changes to white you see a bird that’s a different color.

What if you draw a picture and reverse the colors to create the same effect? Hints: It helps to create a smaller picture so you can focus easily. It helps if you put a dot or other focus point near the middle so you can stare in one place. It helps if you make the colors intense, not pale.

A drawing of a skull with a striped background I created a different illusion for a bird and posted it as a freebie at Teachers Pay Teachers.

You tape a piece of folded paper to a straw or pencil and when you spin the paper it looks like the bird is inside the cage. Your brain remembers what it sees for a fraction of a second and that’s what makes this illusion work. 

Blind Spot card

What if you change the size or shape of the card? What if you change the spot to a different shape, size, or color? This activity and more are featured in a blog I posted in 2017

A drawing of a skull with a striped background Hole in your Hand

What if you: change the angle of the tube toward and away from your hand? change the hand that holds the tube? use a longer or shorter tube? use a wider or narrower tube? does this work with a straw? 


Challenge: Soda Can Mirror – this is a challenge because of the soda can needed

More resources to consider that were posted in a blog after I presented at the Oregon Science Teachers’ Association conference

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