I believe its a thaumatrope...below is an activity I found online not long
ago with a link at the end.
Activity for making a
Thaumatrope Motion Device
The history of animation (and movie-making) begins with a simple device
called the thaumatrope. This optical toy was in wide circulation by 1826,
and it may have been known much earlier than that. The thaumatrope is the
most basic of motion toys. It consists of a disc that is attached to two
pieces of string. When twirled, the images on the sides of the disc are
perceived together as a single image.
Like all animation devices, the thaumatrope works on the principle of
persistence of vision. Persistence of vision is the eye's ability to retain
an image for a fraction of a second after the object is gone. In this case,
the eye continues to see the two images on either side of the thaumatrope
for a split second after each has appeared. As the thaumatrope spins, the
series of quick flashes is perceived as one continuous image.
. Students will understand the phenomenon of persistence of vision, which
is the basis for all animation.
. Heavy stock paper (index cards are fine), or cardboard
. Heavy string or yarn
. Paper hole punch
. Crayons or markers
Begin by having the students cut a circle or rectangle from the paper. On
one side of the paper, ask them to draw a lightning bolt, and to outline it
with a dark color such as black. On the other side, they should draw and
color a sky. After they have finished drawing this, they will make one hole
on each side of the thaumatrope, approximately in the middle (Have them
measure it with a ruler to incorporate math skills). Next, they will cut two
pieces of string, approximately 8 inches long. Loop the string through the
holes and tie it. SPIN UP A STORM! (Students will see a lightning bolt
superimposed onto the sky.)
Note: The lightning bolt/sky combination is an easy one to start with
because you do not have to worry about one of the images being drawn upside
down. For thaumatropes that have a definete UP position for viewing, one of
the images must be upside down in relation to the other.
Other thaumatropes to try:
Side 1: a bird Side 2: a nest (upside down)
Side 1: a fish Side 2: an ocean habitat (upside down)
Side 1: Students write the first 2 or 3 letters of their name Side 2:
Students write the remainder of name (upside down)
Side 1: Have students bring (or make) photographs of themselves, or cut
pictures out of magazines. Glue to one side of the thaumatrope. Side 2: Draw
beard, hats, glasses, or grass, sky, sun, etc. (upside down).
Thaumatropes do not have to be round or rectangular! Students can also
experiment with shape. Colored paper also makes interesting effects; try
black paper with brightly colored chalk drawings. See some of the sample
thaumatropes included in this packet.
As you begin making thaumatropes, you will quickly see that the placement of
the images involves considerable understanding of spatial relations
andmathematics. For this reason, thaumatropes are excellecent tools for
teaching these concepts. It is also useful to incorporate thaumatropes into
the curriculum by animating subjects being studied. For example, if the
class is doing a unit on the desert, students could animate desert
landscapes and animals. Also, persistence of vision is a perceptual
phenomenon that can be studied as a part of a science unit on light or the
eye. See the listing of resources at the end of this unit for suggested
books on light.
Animation: Turning still pictures into moving pictures.
Motion Toy: Motion toys are the ancestors of today's movies. They were
Persistence of Vision: A visual phenomenon where an image is retained in the
eye for a short period of time, creating an illusion of continuous motion
when viewed in rapid succession.
Thaumatrope: One of the earliest motion toys, the thaumatrope can be traced
to 1826, and may be even older. It consists of a disc with pictures on both
sides, tied to two pieces of string. When spun, the images on the disc
appear together as a single image.