The Magiscope was an attraction at Manchester’s department store in Madison, WI, in 1939 that allowed children to peek into Santa’s workshop (as shown in Fig. 1). The “magiscope” was a telescope-like device that gave children the illusion they were looking at a distant Santa, when in fact they were looking at a fabricated workshop on an upper level of the department store. In this article, we describe how we used the puzzle of the magiscope as a final assessment for our optics unit in an introductory physics course.

AAPT members receive access to The Physics Teacher and the American Journal of Physics as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.