YOU WON'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES!
Grades 6 - 8
Sight is the most valued of the five senses and though we
we understand how to see, few truly understand the science of sign
and how the experience influences what we see.
This lesson is a basic first encounter with the sense of sight. The video
is used to provide basic visual clues and the worksheet focuses the
information. This lesson is written to be easily adapted to secondary
Notice how this lesson integrates visual references and hands-on learning
with frequent changes in the type of stimulus used. The lesson takes one
lecture period and adjoining lab period to complete. A pre-lesson
assignment is also involved.
Our Human Body from Science Source: "The Sense of the
Students will be able to:
- identify the main components of a human eye
- explain how humans see
- express a better understanding of one' own body
- blackboard and chalk
- Three 10 x 10 dark colored squares (forest green or navy blue,
- handouts for each student
- calculators for each student
- an apple
- one square of dark materials 50 cm or a dark kerchief
- a clear plastic ruler
- sharp pencil
On the day before this exercise, ask your students to find
and record the eye color of each member of their family.
Begin the lesson by drawing two faces on the board, one without eyes. Ask
the class what is missing and invite a student to draw the missing eyes.
Now ask the students if they had ever seen these two particular faces
did they know that something was missing from the second face? Discuss
pathway the body used to solve this problem...ear to hear the question,
eyes, nervous system, brain (memory-compare-decide), muscle (arm to
mouth to speak). Direct the discussion to focus on the eyes. Ask students
what they know about their eyes. Create a list of information generated
by the students, include false information in the list to refer to later.
Challenge obvious answers like, "We have two!" With questions
like "Are you sure,? Is that true for everyone?" And bring in
the plant and animal world. "Plants turn toward the suns so they
see where it is...can you underwater as fish do?"
In groups of 2-3, ask students to close their eyes, turn and describe
they see. They will probably say that they see nothing. Tell them,
place your tightly cupped hand over your eyes and open them." Some
students will note that they see a reddish light. Explain that the light
is slightly diffused in the upper skin layers, taking on the color of
Darker skin may reduce or prevent this phenomenon. Review what happened.
Did anyone note that they saw the inside of their eyelid or the lines on
the palm of their hands? The problem is that there was not enough light,
and so, there was not enough information for your eyes to work...to see.
For comparison, move your mouth as you would to speak a coherent
but speak so lowly that no one can hear you. Explain that his is a
situation: you know something is there but your ears are not receiving
information to understand what is going on.
Draw the curtains or move to a room without windows. Leave the lights on
and show the three dark colored squares. Ask students to identify the
square...they all should be able to. Now, mix up the squares while you
of the light...holding them up again, ask you students to pick the brown
one. Since there is less light, there is less information and now it is
impossible to see the difference between the colors.
Now let's just do a little eye- brain exercise. Bring out the apple
completed with the cloth or kerchief. Explain that this is a MYSTERY
Take a good look and notice what comes into your head as you think about
this object. Remove the cloth and after a few seconds, remove the object
from view. Tell students not to write what they thing the object is, but
to write down any ideas they have to describe the object.
Brainstorm all of the possible descriptions. Likely, the class will have
a great consensus on one or two descriptors. Ask students to explain why
they didn't al come up with exactly the same descriptions...after all,
all saw the same thing. Explain that even though the object was the same
for all, each of us has different experiences that we use to understand
visual information. Choose different examples to illustrate this concept.
therefore, what you see is interpreted differently by someone else;
then, is only relative!
Distribute the Focus handout. Allow a couple of minutes for
students to review the sheets. To provide a specific focus for their
explain that they will be able to find most of the information required
in the video. Tell them to enter the information into the heading on the
first sheet and to write down their eye color information. Poll the class
and calculate, as arranged on the handout, how many students have each
of eye color. Using a calculator, ask students to calculate the
for each color and to fill out the grid on the handout.
CUE the tape to the opening graphic: "Science
Direct students attention to the ENERGY PATH activity on the handout and
ask them to watch the video segment to discover the correct path. Press
PLAY and PAUSE when you see the title, "Seeing the
just after the narrator says, "...illuminating everything."
the class about what they saw int he segment and specifically about the
reason they saw a cloud in the water. Now, they should be able to draw
between each symbol to indicate the energy path. Point out that should
part of the energy path be interrupted by an obstacle or loss of energy,
vision is impaired or blocked.
RESUME PLAY until you first see the crowd, before the narrator
in this segment. PAUSE, distribute the next focus for viewing
and ask the class what information they can see from this picture? Note
that there are shapes, colors, distance, movement, shades, proportions,
textures...point out that the variety of visual information distinguished
by the eyes is very significant.
RESUME PLAY and PAUSE at the Sci-Fax question. Pose the
to the class. RESUME PLAY to check the answer. Review the Focus for
Viewing handout and direct students to pay attention to the next segment
for information on how our eyes interpret distance and color. PAUSE
on the Sci-Fax questions ana ask students to predict the answer.
PLAY and PAUSE as the screen fades to black after the Sci-Fax
answer. Diredf students to the last activity on their handout and tell
to watch varefully for information to complete this activity during the
final segment. RESUME PLAY and PAUSE on the next Sci-Fax
the ye communicating emotion. Ask students to predict the naser.
PLAY and STOP once the answer is revealed. Give students a few
moments to complete the activity, allowing them to consult in small
FAST FORWARD to the Instant Replay graphic toward the end
of the program. Use the first part of this segment to review key points
in the lesson. STOP after rods and cones are
Divide students into pairs and instruct them to sit, facing
one another, very close together. Line the students up along a bright
or other light source. The student facing the light covers one of his/her
eyes with their hand. Students count to ten, slowly. The other student
very close tot he covered eye and prepares to notice what happens when
hand is removed. The hand is removed and the pupil should adjust and get
smaller. Reverse positions and ask students to conduct the experiment
Have them note their observations and in groups, come up with an
for the pupils' activity.
Distribute the Mystery Word Vocabulary Game and the Teacher's Corner
If desired, invite each student group to design their own optical
- Invite a guest from the medical profession to discuss the latest
in preventive eye care and treatment and to answer questions about their
- Invite a guest who has lost the use of his/her eyes to emphasize
importance of eye safety and discuss the adjustments that sightless
- Volunteer at a local charity event to benefit visually impaired
Or, conduct an eye donor campaign in your community to increase awareness
about the importance of sight and the value of donating eye organs for
Conduct research on sight-related inventions and create a time line of
innovations for your classroom wall.
Create a life-sized "Camera Obscura" for your class.
Calculate the stereoscopic effect using the final handout attached to
Study "op art", the modern movement that was fascinated with
illusion. Each student group could research a different artist from this
movement and create a work in the style of that artist.
Master Teacher: Francois Cote, Mountain Lake Public
Lesson Plan Database
Thirteen Ed Online