Skip to content
  • Provide blank maps of North America and guide the students in drawing lines to indicate the Mississippi flyway, from the Arctic coast of Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico. Help them indicate the two rivers that define the flyway, the Mackenzie in Canada and the Mississippi in the United States. Inform the students that the eastern and western boundaries of the flyway fall between two other flyways, the Eastern and Central. Describe the eastern boundary of the Mississippi flyway as fairly distinct, running through the peninsula of southern Ontario to western Lake Erie, then southwestward across Ohio and Indiana to the Mississippi River, where it follows the river to the Gulf of Mexico. Tell the students that the western boundary in Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas is less clear and frequently merges with the Central Flyway. Use the following Websites to aid in preparing for this activity:
  • Help the students become familiar with stargazing maps found in books and on the Internet, particularly showing the eight constellations represented in the exhibition. Use the following Website for a printable star map: (Use Printable Page option at bottom of screen.)
  • Introduce the concept of a Phenakistoscope [feen a kis ti scope], invented in 1830 simultaneously by Joseph Plateau in Belgium and Simon Stampfer in Austria, which was an early precursor of motion picture projectors. The instrument was composed of a disc on which a series of images were pictured in a ring around the circumference, with small slits between the images. When a rod was placed through the center of the disc, and the disc was spun in front of a mirror, a person looking through the slits from the back of the disc would see a moving image reflected in the mirror. Use the following Website for a description:
  • By acquainting the students with the process of making a Phenakistoscope, you will assist them in understanding the process the artist used to construct her assemblage. Materials needed: paper dinner plates or lightweight cardboard discs used by bakeries to separate layers of cakes; wood shish kabob skewers; a mirror; a lamp.
    1. Provide each student with a plain white inexpensive paper plate or cardboard disc and a wooden skewer from which they will make turning discs with drawings along the outer edges. Instruct the students to draw lines dividing their plates into 8 equal pie wedge segments, and then to carefully cut small slots between each of the segments, extending about one inch toward the center, making each slot 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.
    2. Instruct the students to select an entity that has parts which move, such as an animal, bird, insect, a machine, or a person such as a juggler, acrobat, or a runner or walker, for which they can draw changes in movement. Tell them to think about how the motion will start and how it will end, telling them that they will have 4 segments on the plate through which to arrive at the middle of the movement, and then 4 more segments to arrive back at the starting point in the circle.
    3. Give the students sheets of paper they can use to divide into eight 1.5" wide x 2" long segments to make their drawings. (For younger students you may choose to provide them with paper onto which the segments have already been drawn. They will cut these apart later and paste them onto their plates in the pie segments.) Tell them to begin by drawing the first and last pictures. Then, each drawing should move the action from the beginning to the end. (Students may need to try some practice drawings before they make their final drawings.)
    4. When the students are satisfied with their drawings, instruct them to cut the segments apart and paste each one into a segment of their plate, carefully trying to keep them evenly aligned around the plate. They may follow a line of embossing or design on the paper plate as a guide.
    5. Show the students how to carefully push the wood skewer into the very center of the plate so that the plate will spin around the skewer. (As an alternate axle, students may push a thumbtack or pushpin through the center of the disc into the side of the eraser on a pencil, holding the pencil vertically.)
    6. Instruct the students to take turns holding their Phenakistoscopes up to a mirror at about eye level, the side with images facing the mirror. They should look through the slits as they spin their disk on the axle and watch the moving figures reflected in the mirror. It will help to shine a lamp toward the images to increase their visibility.

For further instructions for making Phenakistoscopes, see: