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Spot the Dot Eye Science

Can you make things seem to disappear by taking advantage of how your brain and eyes work together? Put it to the test in this week's family science activity!

Spot the Dot Eye Science / Weekly family science activity

In the image above, can you see all three colored dots? Is one harder to see than the others? What will happen if you lift the wax paper off of the background paper, keeping it between your eyes and the dots and gradually increasing the distance between the dots and the wax paper?

In this week's family-friendly science activity, students explore "eye" science and how our eyes continually move around to gather information and send it to the brain. Part of what these movements, called saccades, detect are the edges that differentiate one object from another. How sharp or how blurry these edges are, or how much contrast there is between objects, can make a difference in what your eyes see.

With colored construction paper and wax paper, kids can explore how blurring edges can trick the eyes into not seeing something. Can you use this science to make things seem to disappear? How does this process differ based on the colors used? What happens if you try a different colored background or a white or black background?

The following Science Buddies activity on the Scientific American website has all the information you need to do this hands-on activity with your students at home: Can You Spot the Dot?.

Extend the Fun!

Students interested in further exploring the science of "seeing" may also enjoy the following hands-on projects, activities, and blog posts:

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Free science fair projects.