Perception and Optical Illusions Activity

For my English class with 1ero de Bachillerato today I decided to talk about the topic of perception and optical illusions can play games with our minds. I started the class explaining that sometimes what our eyes see and mins perceives is not always reality. Sometimes what we are actually watching and our mind is interpreting is not the actual thing that is happening or is there. I told them there are several factors for this. I will discuss them later. I also told them that we were going to play some mind games and see how perception and optical illusions can play tricks on our mind. But, before I went on with the class I, shared with them a video of expert optical illusions magician Chris Angel. In this video Chris shows that the brain can be manipulated by using an environment and placing different items in perspective making the brain perceive that they are all the same size when in fact is just an optical illusion created by the artist using a controlled environment.

You can see the video below:

What is an optical illusion?

An optical illusion (also called a visual illusion) is an illusion caused by the visual system and characterized by visually perceived images that differ from objective reality. The information gathered by the eye is processed in the brain to give a percept that does not tally with a physical measurement of the stimulus source. There are three main types:

  • literal optical illusions that create images that are different from the objects that make them
  • physiological illusions that are the effects of excessive stimulation of a specific type (brightness, colour, size, position, tilt, movement)
  • cognitive illusions, the result of unconscious inferences. Pathological visual illusions arise from a pathological exaggeration in physiological visual perception mechanisms causing the aforementioned types of illusions.

Optical illusions are often classified into categories including the physical and the cognitive or perceptual, and contrasted with optical hallucinations.

After I shared the video I had a questions session based on the video just to get their feedback on what stood out the most for them. After the video I discussed with them the definition of an optical illusion which I posted it earlier. After that we went to the games section of the class.

Here you can find the link of a web page that has some games based on optical illusions. It has different games along with instructions and explanations that were very interactive and fun with my class. The kids loved it:

I also prepared a Words sheet that has some additional games as well as their explanations. You can find the document here: perception-games perception-games-answers. Here you can take any game that you would like to play with your students and it also gives an explanation of the optical illusion and why our mind perceives each trick.

Here are some other YouTube videos that can be also shared during class:

The feedback for this class was great, students were very engaged and they loved the topic as well as how interactive the session was. I felt very happy seeing that they enjoyed their session. I also had the same class with a 4th ESO group and I am sure it can be adapted for any level of IES students 1 Eso – 2ndo Bachillerato.

Hopefully this materials and resources have been of your like. Feel free to use them on your classes, and as always, if you have any comments or any other additional ideas don’t forget to subscribe and or contact me below.

Have a great day and God bless,


© Samuel Enrique Martinez Fuster


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