Experimenting with the Eye


Experimenting with the Eye (3rd-8th)

Through a series of short activities will walk students through the structures of their eyes, from back to front, as they explore the distribution and behavior of the rod and cone cells of their own retinas through experiments with peripheral vision, afterimages (an experiment with color vision), and blind spots.


Lesson Overview

Students will:

  • Consider what the eye needs to do
  • Observe functions of eye structures from back to front: retina, lens, iris & pupil and explain their observations

Lesson Objectives

Students will be able too:


  • Explain how structures of the eye contribute to vision
  • Distinguish between the cone and rod cells in the retina 

This lesson is aligned with these Next Generation Science (NGS) Standards.

Standards Covered

Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI)

LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes – LS1.A Structure and Function

  • (3rd-5th) Organisms have both internal and external macroscopic structures that allow for growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
  • (6th-8th) All living things are made up of cells. In organisms, cells work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions.

Science & Engineering Practice (SEP) 

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

  • (3rd-5th) Use evidence (e.g. measurements, observations, patterns) to construct or support an explanation or design a solution to a problem.
  • (6th-8th) Apply scientific ideas, principles, and/or evidence to construct, revise and/or use an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events.

Crosscutting Concept (CCC)

Structure and Function

  • (3rd-5th) Substructures have shapes and parts that serve functions.
  • (6th-8th) Complex and microscopic structures and systems can be visualized, modeled, and used to describe how their function depends on the shapes, composition, and relationships among its parts; therefore, complex natural and designed structures/systems can be analyzed to determine how they function.
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