The Eye - Flipped

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SWBAT describe the process by which light travels through the eye and is processed by the brain.

Big Idea

This lesson incorporates models and online simulations to help students better understand the process of vision.


5 minutes

As the students enter the room, they take out their Chromebooks and sign into Socrative to take a vision quiz. Socrative is a website that provides real time feedback, so I am able to quickly review the results to see the questions that are more difficult for the students and then I am better able to guide the review of the flipped notes.

Once the students finish the quiz, they are to read about VisionThis information is from the website cK-12. The information can be shared with students online, where they are able to highlight and annotate. For this lesson, I print out copies of the notes and provide them to the students. Having the students review the written information is a way to keep students on task while everyone finishes taking the quiz and provides students with additional access to information regarding the process of vision.

While students are working on the quiz, I circulate through the room to ask them questions about their thoughts regarding the answers. As students finish up the quiz, I guide them to read through the material in the hand out. I also take time out to check the students' answers on the Socrative quiz, to know how to best guide the discussion to help students better understand the information. Once everyone has finished the quiz, I ask the students if there were any questions that they found troublesome and I review the answers with the students to provide them with feedback regarding the reasoning behind the answers.


15 minutes

This is a flipped lesson, so students are expected to view and take notes on this video prior to class. The students are also expected to complete the notes review for the eye.  This is a sample of proficient student notes and a proficient student notes review

The notes address MS-LS1-8Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories because our class review of them requires students to understand and discuss how the structures of the eye work together to transmit sensory information to the brain.

In order to review the structures and functions of the eye, I use the Line Up strategy. I hand out notecards on which I have written the structures of the eye (cornea, iris, pupil, lens, retina, rods, cones, optic nerve, brain, vitreous humor, and aqueous humor). The students who receive a notecard line up in the front of the room and hold the notecard up for the class to see. The audience is then responsible for placing the students in the correct order in which light travels through the eye.  I use a frog to represent light and will have the students holding the cards line up in the correct order and pass the light (frog) from one person to the next. (I use a frog to represent light, but you could use a flashlight or even a bag of Skittles to represent the visible spectrum.)

As the students identify each structure, I hold up pieces of a three dimensional model as well as showing pictures and information on the LCD projector. This helps the students see the form of each structure and enables them to think about how the structure may impact function. For instance, when the students say that the cornea is the first structure of the eye that light hits, I hold up a model of the cornea and display a picture of it on the LCD projector. I ask the students to describe the structure and they say that it is clear. I ask if it is important that the structure is clear, and they respond that it is, so light can pass through. We continue this process as we move through the rest of the structures of the eye and by doing so, we review all of the information from their flipped notes. 

This activity addresses SP2 Developing and Using Models as the students model the process of how light travels through the eye. Asking the students to describe how the shape and composition impact the functions of the structures of the eye addresses NGSS Crosscutting Concept Structure and Function - 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.


15 minutes

I ask the students to take out their Chromebooks and open the Vision Exploration worksheet while I load the document on the LCD projector. As the students wait for their documents to open, I ask them to take out the vision reading from earlier in class and we review some of the information, specifically the information about vision loss.

Once we review a few forms of vision loss, I direct the students to the vision exploration worksheet and ask them to complete the first question by writing a Claims-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) statement about whether or not we see colors the same way. As the students work, I circulate through the room to review their responses and to ask them questions to help them think more critically about their responses. Reviewing their answers enables me to better guide the discussion of their answers, as I know the examples they have generated. After they have had a chance to write, I ask the students to share their journals with the other students in their group. I also circulate through the room to listen to how the students interact with one another, specifically focusing on how they respond to one another and provide counterexamples. I then ask for volunteers to share their thoughts with the class.  

One of the items that several students brought up in class was the buzz about "the dress." I print an article for students to refer to later, if they would like. The students also discuss colorblindness and the way it impacts how we perceive color. This part of the discussion addresses NGSS SP7 - Engage in argument from evidence, as the students support their position on the topic.

I tell the students that we will be exploring how we see color by using an online activity.  I open the color sorting website and demonstrate how it works on the LCD projector. I explain to the students that they should begin by agreeing upon a set group number within their group and should then make sure that each member of their group completes the same set in order to have reliable results.

After explaining the activity, students begin working and I circulate through the room to help them troubleshoot and answer the remaining questions on their vision exploration worksheet. I spend a great deal of time helping the students to analyze the data they have collected by asking the students questions about their data as it compares to the data of their group members and to the data recorded on the website. This addresses NGSS SP4 - Analyzing and interpreting data - as the students look at the relationships between the types of colors where they had high percentages of similarities and the colors for which they had lower percentages.

These are examples of proficient student work with different answers for the CER - work sample 1work sample 2

Wrap up

5 minutes

At the end of class I ask the groups to share their results for question four (Compare your results with the other members of your group and summarize your results.  What colors were the most agreed upon in your group?  What colors were the least agreed upon? Provide an explanation for why this may have happened.) with the rest of the class.  

As the groups share their responses, I write their information on the board.  For this class, the commonly agreed upon colors were the reds, blues, and greens. I ask the students to think about why they might have agreed most on red, green, and blue hues. At this point I do not expect for them to know the answer, because we have not discussed the three types of cones, but I do expect for them to come back to class with the correct answer the following day.