Home Store Project Ideas Project Guide Ask An Expert Blog Careers Teachers Parents Students
All Lesson Plans

Fool Your Vision to Find Out How It Works

Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
Visual process, the senses, the brain
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the main components of the visual system and how they work together.
  • Formulate and defend a hypothesis based on experimental evidence for illusions created by fatigued sensory cells or for optical illusions created when the two eyes look at a different object.
The illusion of having a hole in your hand.

Overview

How is it possible that our eyes can see things that are not really there? In this fun lesson plan, your students will explore how our vision works with the help of two short experiments that involve some fascinating optical illusions. Let your students discuss why they see a hole in their hand, or why they see colors that were never there, and let them construct their own explanations.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-8. Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations. Conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of an investigation.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence. Use argument supported by evidence to support or refute an explanation or a model for a phenomenon.
LS1.D: Information Processing. Each sense receptor responds to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain. The signals are then processed in the brain, resulting in immediate behaviors or memories.
Cause and Effect. Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems.

Systems and System Models. Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

Credits

Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials


Few materials are needed for this hands on lesson plan studying the visual system

Materials per group of two students:

  • Computer with internet access, or a color printout of the student version of Figure 4. As an alternative, a projector and white surface or smart board can also be used to project the image for the entire class.
  • Stopwatch or clock that counts seconds
  • Colored pencils (at least yellow, light blue or cyan and purple or magenta) or a basic computer graphics program
  • White paper, 8.5 by 11 inches
  • Clear tape

Reviews

|
Was this review helpful?
Be the first one to review this activity.
Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
2 students
Active Time
60 minutes
Total Time
60 minutes
Area of Science
Human Biology & Health
Key Concepts
Visual process, the senses, the brain
Learning Objectives
  • Understand the main components of the visual system and how they work together.
  • Formulate and defend a hypothesis based on experimental evidence for illusions created by fatigued sensory cells or for optical illusions created when the two eyes look at a different object.

Class Materials