Curriculum Animation
Optical toys: making drawings move using techniques based on optical toys
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A simple hand spinner can be made with a cardboard circle and a short pencil. You can also use old CD's but you need to stick a piece of cardboard over the hole or put a rubber grommet in the hole so a pencil will fit.

Can be made to spin horizontally but you can use a hand drill to spin it vertically.

Toy spinning wheel with colours and pencil spinner.

Spinning Wheel

Make patterns on cardboard such as spirals, dots, lines, etc.


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Phenakistiscope (spinning wheel)

A Phenakistiscope is a spinning wheel that works on the same principle as the Zoetrope. You view the pictures through the slots, but in this case the pictures spin round vertically rather than horizontally. You view the images by looking at the reflection in a mirror.


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Making the spinning wheel

It is best if someone makes a wheel that the rest of the class can use as a template.

You need a stiff piece of cardboard as the base for the drawings. The disk should be about the size of an LP record (use an old LP or a plate of this size t trace around), with 12 slots cut around the edge. The slots should be about 5mm wide and 20mm deep.

The drawings are made between the slots. It is better to have the drawings ready made, and then stuck between the slots rather than attempting to make the drawings directly on the wheel.

For children making these the first time, it is useful to have 12 circles on a photocopied sheet. Then faces can be drawn on these going from happy to sad. These can then be cut out and stuck on the wheel. The same drawings can then be coloured and have other features added like ears extending, hair raising, etc.


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