Optical Illusion Lesson Plan

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

This lesson plan can be used to introduce students to optical illusions. Students will watch a video lesson, discuss optical illusions, and make their own illusions based on what they have learned.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define the term optical illusion.
  • Describe different types of optical illusions.


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.


Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.

This lesson could also apply to standards for art education. Please note that each state has different standards for art. Please consult your state's standards to ensure proper alignment.


  • Basic art supplies for creating optical illusions


  • Begin the lesson by writing the word 'illusion' on the board. Discuss the term with the students.
    • What kind of optical illusions have the students seen? (There are some that have been very popular on the internet.)
  • Start the video lesson What Are Optical Illusions? - Definition & Types. Pause the video at 0:58 to discuss the following questions as a class:
    • What is an optical illusion? How does an optical illusion work?
    • What examples of optical illusions have you seen in your life?
  • Continue and finish the video but pause after each illusion is shown to give students time to look at it and discuss it. Discuss the following after the video ends:
    • What are the different types of optical illusions described in the video? How do they work?
    • What examples of each can you think of?
    • How might optical illusions be used in popular art?
  • To reinforce students' learning, display a number of examples of optical illusions and ask them to discuss each one. Many great examples can be found online using a simple search for 'optical illusion example images.' Start by having them describe the type of optical illusion they are seeing. What are the elements of the illusion?

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