How do my eyes work?

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SWBAT explain how human eyes are similar to a box model.

Big Idea

Allow the class to construct a model similar to the human eye, and give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of how we see.

Lesson Overivew

Next Generations Science Standard Connection

This lesson connects to 1-PS4-3, and the students engage in an investigation to determine how the human eye works. When light enters our eyes it has to go through different materials in order for us to see an image. I tried to create a model of the human eye using a box, glass of water, tape, and a flashlight. The light enters the box through two holes just like light enters our eyes. Then the light passes through material similar to the water and glass. The image is then created in our brain kind of like the image is on the back of our box. 

Now, the real reasons I am teaching this is because it was one of the original questions my students wanted to learn when we began our light unit.  So, I tried to research models and investigations that might help my first graders understand how the human eye works. I found a very interesting experiment on this website that I think will allows my students to create a model that is similar to the human eye. They follow my plan to carry out an investigation, and then we read about how the human eye works. Students can really understand the way things work by observing models and this is my attempt to help my students understand how our eyes work.

Lesson Overview

My students tend to follow through with instructions and develop a better understanding when they can work together with their friends. They also seem to persevere through lengthy complex lessons if they can move around frequently. So, I use collaborative heterogeneous ability group partners and transitions.

My heterogeneous ability group partners are called peanut butter jelly partners. The students are assigned a partner, and they work with this partner throughout every lesson. Students even have assigned seats beside their partners. They help each other read, create, and evaluate their work.

Transitions help the students by giving them frequent brain breaks. The students get to move around often, and my transitions are usually the same in every lesson. This kind of lets the students know what to expect in every lesson.  


10 minutes

We begin the lesson in the lounge where I try to excite the class about the lesson, because their excitement can help the students persevere through the lesson. I also assess their prior knowledge, so I know how much support I am going to need to provide in the lesson. Last, I share the plan for the lesson, so my students know what to expect. 

First, I project the lesson image on the Smart Board and ask the class to look at it. Then I direct them to their question from the beginning of the unit. I say, "Look at the KWL chart and think about we see with our eyes. Remember you had this question in the beginning of the unit. Today I hope to help you explore and investigate how the human eye works."

Then I ask, "Will you please tell your partner what you know about how our eyes work?" I listen and I am pretty my class has no prior knowledge, because they were all wanting to know this in the beginning of the unit. But, one of my student may have went home, ask their parents, and research the answer. In this case I would allow that student to share their knowledge.

Last, I share the plan for the lesson with the class. I say, "We are going to create and explore a model that is similar to the human eye. Then we are going to read about how our model is like our eye."


15 minutes

At this point we transition to the desks in the center of the room. The students are seated in groups of four. I give the class a model to help fill out their science journal, explore, and record our investigations.

So, I begin by explaining the model on the Smart Board, and I ask the students to copy it down. This enables us to have the information from today's lesson to reflect upon in our culminating activity. As the students copy the date, topic, and plan down I walk around and monitor their work. This makes sure everyone gets finished near the same time.

Then I distribute materials and allow the students to explore. My materials include a box, glass of water, and a flashlight. Then I watch them carry out the experiment. I have already cut the slits in the box to save time, and fingers. Now, it is time for my students to really explore the concept of how light enters and exits objects. Here is an example: box without glass of the students exploring without the glass in the box, and here is an example:box with glass of the class exploring with the glass in the box. Then I have an example of the students observations. I called number one the observations without the glass, and number two the observation with the glass.

I am expecting to have to do some extra explanations and help my ELL. I know this concept of how the human eye works is very complex, and I have tried to simplify it to the best of my ability. This is a lesson designed to answer one of my students question in the initial lesson in this unit. When helping the ELL I first rely on their partner, but I often end up engaging in a conversation.


10 minutes

Now my students begin to practice communicating with their peers as they share across the table. I try to engage the class in a whole group conversation, because I am trying  to teach my students to share what they learn. As they share what they learn I also hope they begin to build upon the ideas of their peers. 

First I say, "Please share what happened when you added the glass of water with the group across the table." Then I listen, and make sure everyone is participating. I hope to hear the students saying, "When I added the water the light shined on one spot instead of two." After about one minute of talking I say, "If you and the group opposite the table as you find something different you may redo the experiment or just talk about why you saw different things." If I see a group not participating then I stop and ask, "What did you record for your observations when there was no glass, and when the glass was present?" This prompt engages them in a conversation. Then I listen hoping to hear comments like, "I saw two rays of light on the box. One was blue and the other was white. The blue one looked like and oval, and the white one looked like little lines." This is really dependent on the color of the plastic over one slit and the way the slits are cut on the box.

Finally, we engage in a whole class discussion where the students share their experience and add to what their peers share. I say, "Will a volunteer share what they saw?" Then I listen, and ask, "Will somebody add to that?" Again I listen hoping to hear comment like, "The light is blue, because the plastic over one slit is blue, and the glass with water helps the light bend. I remember this from previous lessons." I find this is an excellent way to help students collaborate and share what they learned.


15 minutes

At this point I focus the class on two questions: "How is this box like my eye?" and "How is the box different than my eye." I give each child a text I found on this helpful website, and l help the students research to find their own answer. Here is an example of how a student answers the question: "How is the box like my eye?" student work.  

First I say, "Please write your questions down in your science journal under your observation." Once the students record the questions I say, "Please read the text to yourself and try to find the answers. One partner can read while the other listens, so work together. When you think you have found the answers go record it under each question."

Next, I distribute the text to the class. If I pass it out before I give instruction the class may start reading, because they are so curious. But they will not listen to any of my instructions. When I anticipate their excitement I try to give my instructions before I give out any materials. It just helps the students listen a little better. 

Now, I walk around and help the students anyway I can. Many students like to ask me if they have the answer correct, and I usually tell them. This allows them time to change their answer if it is wrong, and we can talk about it.


10 minutes

Now, I try to assess the students and let them share what they learned from reading the text. So, the first thing I do is get the students seated in the lounge area or carpet of our room. Then I use a fun chant to get them settled by calling out what I want them to do. We all chant, "Criss cross, apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in your laps, talking no more." Then I add, "Your eyes are on the speaker and you are listening to what they say, so you can give them peers feedback."

Then I use my spreadsheet of all my students names to check off who's turn it is to share their answer to the question. Then I call on them and ask them to share in front of the class. After the student shares I ask, "Will a volunteer add to or give them feedback?" Then I listen. If nobody can give feedback then I model verbal feedback.

Last, the students assess their own work using a rubric template I created. Then they trade with their partner and evaluate:rubric their partner's work: proficient student work. Last, I check their work after school to save time. But, the rubric is nice, because it brings a real life scenario to the table of using fractions. I my students really get parts and wholes as well, because they know they record how many they got right above how many there were possible.