Free Homeschool Lesson Plan on the Function of a Cat's Eyes
Group Reading on How Cat Eyes Work
The first part of this lesson involves reading the text below as a group reading lesson. Those able to read can take turns reading this below paragraphs about how cat eyes work aloud. You may want to print a copy of the selection for each child to make it easier. The words in bold can be used as vocabulary words. A printout on cat eye anatomy can be looked at for reference as well.
Have you ever wondered how a cat's eyes work? Why are their eyes shaped differently than yours? Why do cat eyes seem to glow in the dark? Is a cat's vision better than yours and why is it so hard to sneak up on a cat, even in the dark?
If you look at a cat's eyes, you will notice that the black center, or pupil, is shaped differently than yours. It might be shaped liked a slit or it might be a large round circle. The shape changes, depending on how much light the cat needs in order to see.
When it's dark, a cat needs more light to see, so the pupil dilates, or gets bigger, to bring in more light. When this happens, it might look like a cat's eyes are glowing because of the light. There actually is something called the tapedum lucidum positioned behind the retina of a cat's eye. It works like a mirror to reflect the light.
In the daytime, a cat's eyes don't need to bring in as much light because there is already plenty. During this time, a cat's pupils will be slitted. Even though cats can see better in the dark than humans and even have a greater vision field at the sides of the eye, the clarity of their vision is poorer. Cats don't need as much light to see as we do and can even see moving objects at a greater distance.
However, their vision is more blurred than ours. They also cannot see colors as well as we do. You might compare the focus of a cat's vision to a human with colorblindness and with a need for reading glasses. So even though you might wish you could see as well in the dark or have glowing eyes like your pet cat, you might think twice when you realize that in order to have that benefit, cats also have to give up seeing some color and detail.
Group Discussion on How Cat Eyes Work
Once the above reading is done, ask students leading questions about what they've read. Discuss together the facts, as well as benefits and drawbacks of how a cat's eyes work. Try to get the students to explain in detail why they would or would not like to have vision like a cat.
Science Craft on How Cat Eyes Work
Give the students each two sheets of black construction paper and one sheet of yellow. Ask the students to cut out three pairs of cat eye shapes from the yellow paper and paste them onto one of the black. With the remaining black paper, ask the students to cut out shapes of a cat's eyes slitted, medium dilated, and fully dilated.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network