Lesson Plan: Op Art Spinners [Presented by Blick Art Materials]

“Fidget spinners” became wildly popular because of their reputation as a concentration aid or a means of releasing stress and anxiety. In the same manner as a stress ball, they give the hands something to keep them busy. Op Art (short for Optical Art) is a movement that rose to popularity in the 1960s as a means of keeping the eyes busy.

Optical illusions were not invented by scientists or optometrists but by artists who understand the workings of the human brain and eyes and how to trick them into believing they see something they don't actually see. A design that is completely stationery can appear to have movement as a result of carefully placed color and pattern.

Art that is designed to incorporate motion is known as Kinetic Art, and Op Art is considered kinetic even if the motion is only illusionary.

In this lesson plan, students create their own hand-held “fidget spinners” as kinetic art — discs, gears, and designs that rotate around a center axis. When patterns and colors on multiple layers spin together, they can fool the eye and create colorful illusions. Take one for a spin!

**GRADES 3-12** Note: Instructions and materials are based upon a class size of 24 students. Adjust as needed.

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