Sunday, March 11, 2012

Optical Illusions and the Ames Room

A few weeks ago, I watched the Temple Grandin HBO movie with Lucia, my daughter. Temple Grandin grew up with high-functioning autism, and is known for her work with the livestock industry and autism awareness.

Lucia and I had already watched Temple Grandin's TED talk plus a few interviews. I'd already seen the film without her, and knew the few scenes where I wanted her to avert her eyes. I wasn't sure what Lucia would take away from the film, but I wasn't surprised that the film fanned her interest in optical illusions.

After we watched Temple Grandin, Lucia tried to make an Ames room model (named after ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames), in which two figures that are the same size look different when viewed through a peep-hole. All afternoon and into the evening, she bustled about with cardboard, paper, scissors, and tape-- lots and lots of tape. She got frustrated at several points, and fumed that Grandin had gotten it right so easily. I reminded her of how often Grandin's temper flared, and said, "We can get some optical illusion books out of the library." One of her favorite books was Walter Wick's Optical Tricks.

Yesterday, Bede printed out a template to make the Ames room, and Lucia noted that she needed a much larger layout for her satisfaction. Here are her notes from her composition book:


tanita davis said...

It's ... annoying, but your kid is smarter than me.

Lone Star Ma said...

Smarter than me, too. I wish she could come play with my kids.

Saints and Spinners said...

Tanita and LSM: Thank you for the kind words about The Girl. I'm not sure which is the bigger obsession right now-- optical illusions, or the Bride of Frankenstein. I have no idea how the second item came about.

Wendy said...

My oldest son was always fascinated with optical allusions - still is - and now he is in Prague studying stop-motion animation! So you never know what the future holds for your daughter! :)

I am so glad you mentioned the Temple Grandin movie - my mom has recommended it too. You just reminded me that I need to look for that on Netflix!

Wendy said...

oops - sorry: illusions!

Saints and Spinners said...

Wendy: We love stop-motion animation around here. That's so cool that your oldest son is studying it now.