pastel drawn eye with blue iris

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others."

Perception Connection

Everyone knows that they perceive the world, especially through sight, but they may not know all the science behind it. We sent activity kits to kids around Madison with hands-on projects that help them explore how we see the world through science and art. 

Through activities about light, the anatomy of the eye, and optical illusions, kids learned about the science and art of perception through this Perception Connection!

Below you can find photos that kids have shared of their finished perception-activities! We also share fun interviews with artists and scientists who use perception in their work.

If you’d like to learn more, have questions, or want to know how to do these activities yourselves, contact us at!

Have fun, be creative, and learn!

Instruction Downloads

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Downloads for Activities about Optics

Downloads for Activities about Eye Anatomy

Downloads for Activities about Optical Illusions

Meet the Kohler Fellows Behind this Project

Mateusz Ferens

Mateusz is an art history graduate student whose interests include Byzantine and post-Byzantine art, theories of optics and perception, and cross-cultural interaction.  Through his work, Matt engages in such topics as border theory, mythistory, collective memory and cultural trauma, the archeology of thought, and other topics related to cultural transition and survival. He thinks broadly about issues related to art, architecture, and material culture in order to understand how our past histories manifest themselves in our world today.

Aedan Gardill

Aedan is a physics graduate student in an optics lab, but also has a strong background in art, working primarily in two dimensions. For the past four years he has made art that examines the gender and racial inequalities still prevalent in the sciences. He wants to combat the stereotype of the white, male scientist by increasing the visual representation of diverse scientists. His art advocates for underrepresented scientists by sharing the stories of their lives and research in an accessible format.

Kushin Mukherjee

Kushin is studying psychology and is interested in understanding how visual concepts are learned and represented in the mind. Concurrently, how are these representations leveraged for visual tasks like sketching and how are they influenced by the tasks themselves? In the spirit of studying perception and action as tightly coupled processes he uses computational methods such as neural network and Bayesian modeling to better understand how people learn to ‘see and do’.