Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Science in Focus: Shedding Light: Workshop 4

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Color, Cones, and Corneas

Humans are able to see objects when light energy enters the eye. In this workshop we will investigate human vision, and interview students to find out their understanding of 'how we see.'

Using models, we will study the function of the major parts of the human eye, and revisit refraction by following the path of light through various lenses. We will also visit an optometrist for a vision check-up, discuss the perception of color, and actually see inside a human eye.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Explain that the only thing we see is light that enters the eye.
  • Explain the function of the most important structures in the human eye.
  • Explain how light photons of differing energy are detected by the eye leading to the perception of color.


National Science Education Standards

K-4 standards:

  • Light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object. Light can be reflected by a mirror, refracted by a lens, or absorbed by the object.

    Content Standards: K-4: Physical Science: Light, Heat, Electricity, and Magnetism

5-8 Standards:

  • Light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection). To see an object, light from that object — emitted by or scattered from it — must enter the eye.

    Content Standards: 5-8: Physical Science: Transfer of Energy

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Project 2061 Benchmarks

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should:

  • Raise questions about the world around them and be willing to seek answers to some of them by making careful observations and trying things out.

    Habits of the Mind: 12A Values and Attitudes: K-2

By the end of the 2nd grade, students should:

  • Tools such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers or balances often give more information about things than can be obtained by just observing things without their help.

    Nature of Science: 1B Scientific Inquiry: K-2

By the end of the 5th grade, students should:

  • Offer reasons for their findings and consider reasons suggested by others.

    Habits of the Mind: 12A Values and Attitudes: 3-5

By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that:

  • Light from the sun is made up of a mixture of many different colors of light, even though to the eye the light looks almost white. Other things that give off or reflect light have a different mix of colors.

    The Physical Setting: 4F Motion: 6-8


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