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In this activity about vision and optical illusions, learners conduct a simple test to demonstrate how our eyes create "afterimages." Learners stare at a black cardboard bat for at least 30 seconds and then immediately stare at the inside of a white box. They will be surprised at what they see. Use this activity to introduce learners to how the eyes work. This bat- and Dracula-themed activity also works well during Halloween.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
Under 5 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Black cardboard paper cutout of a bat
  • Cardboard box lined with white cardboard paper on the inside


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Little, Carlyn ; LaHart, David ; Meyers, Ted ; Weisblat, Brooks


  • All rights reserved, Museum of Science, Inc. (Miami, FL), 1997

Funding Source:

  • Unisys