Free Homeschool Lesson Plan on the Function of a Cat's Eyes
If the kids have asked you about the cat's eyes, homeschool lesson time is the perfect learning opportunity. Even if they haven't asked, learning how cat eyes work is a great science lesson. This free animal lesson plan on how cat eyes work can be used before or after other vision lesson plans, as part of a unit on animal vision, or even on its own. Much of this will be understandable for even younger kids, but older kids may also benefit from the lesson. This is very adaptable for a mixed-age classroom setting.
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
The food chain of the animal kingdom is an important lesson that all elementary level students should learn about. Below is a two day lesson plan involving the food chain. The first day outlines for the students exactly what the food chain is, even naming typical animals that work together to form the chain. It will invoke thought in the students, causing them to think about which animals might be where in the food chain. This makes the lesson much more effective in staying in the children's minds. The second day involves an art lesson that collaborates with it.
For this lesson, read the below italicized paragraphs to the students.
The animal kingdom is made up of many different animals. In a way they all need to work together in order to survive. Each animal needs another animal or plant for survival. It starts from the smallest of animals and continues on, all the way up to the largest.
This togetherness is called the food chain. The smallest animals in the chain will be the ones that do not eat other animals, but eat plants and fruits , vegetables, and seeds that come from plants instead. These are called herbivores. The rest of the animals in the chain are called either carnivores or omnivores. Carnivores eat only meat, which, of course, is other animals. Omnivores eat from both food groups, so that means they eat what both carnivores and herbivores eat. Humans are omnivores.
A typical food chain starts from a small animal, such as a mouse or squirrel. That animal eats only things that grow. The next animal can be either an omnivore or carnivore. A snake is a carnivore. That snake will eat the herbivore, continuing the chain. Next, a hawk, who is a carnivore, could swoop down and eat that snake, making the chain continue. Then, if a fox, who is also a carnivore, eats that hawk, the chain has kept going. A clouded leopard could then eat the fox, which, again, continues the cycle. As you can see, the cycle will keep going. This is what makes it a food chain.
Once the above scenario has been read to the children, draw a diagram on an overhead or chalkboard to show the students what a food chain is. Instead of listing the actual animals, each circle should stay blank. The circles should connect in order. Next, show the children on the diagram how each animal needs the other, which creates a chain, by creating a chain of your own. Then, erase your animals from the circles. Ask them to suggest animals for each section of the food chain and discuss why or why not certain animals belong in certain parts of the chain you create together. Repeat making the chain a few times. Ask the children to think about the food chain once school is over and discuss it with a friend or family member. If you homeschool, ask the child to discuss the food chain with a friend or a family member who is not schooling with him or her.
For the second day of instruction, students will need to create a food chain of their own. Each student will need one 12x7 sheet of construction paper, a glue stick, a pencil, and crayons or washable markers. They should use all of these materials, with the sheet of paper as a base. Students should label the animals as "herbivore", "carnivore", or "omnivore", with numbers and arrows symbolizing which ones come next. This art should be a combination of drawing, writing, and pictures cut and glued from magazines. Let the students create the scene as they please, so long as everything is labeled correctly.
This activity is not only fun for the children, but it further ensures that the lesson will stay in their brain and it also gives them a hands-on association to base the lesson from.
Once both days are completed, students should have a very good understanding of the concept of a food chain and how it works.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
Does your child play with a pet regularly? If your answer is no, I can give you plenty of reasons to start that habit. If pets are not allowed in your place of residence, consider taking your child to visit shelter pets or those belonging to friends.
Research shows that having pets reduces anxiety, which is very good for a positive learning environment. That information can be found in many places. But did you know about these other educational benefits?
LAST UPDATED 8/31/2022
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