September 8 – More Fun with Eyeballs

Today we examined the angle of the field of view and used color boxes to test the difference between rods and cones. We explored how where the eyes are located on the head changes the field of view; we compared a human, a horse, and several different birds. The students seemed to be engaged in this part of the lesson and were amazed to see how large the field of view can be for an animal with big eyes on the side of its head. The students also explored the functional difference between rods and cones using color boxes. One of the big differences this week was that the students were on the Friday schedule because of the Labor Day holiday. This meant I saw all of Mr. Macha’s students (instead of just 3 classes) and each class was just 42 minutes long. Those 42 minutes flew by! The students also seemed to have a harder time staying focused this week than the week before. Perhaps the change in schedule threw them off a little bit.

I have two reflections on my second day:

1) Only 1 of the 3 Mon/Wed classes asked why I was there; the other 2 classes seemed to just accept the presence of an adult. It just struck me as kind of funny.

2) It seems like some of the students are checking out already. It strikes me as kind of sad that they are just a month into eighth grade and they’ve already decided that school is a waste of time. I suspect that it’s a combination of factors – parents who don’t value education or parents who aren’t around much, liking school not being considered cool, etc. What I don’t know is how you work around these factors and help the kids rekindle their passion for learning. Or at the very least, how can you help them decide to be interested enough in school to pay attention and pick up some basic information?

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About Sarah Schmidt

I am a PhD candidate in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department at the University of Kansas. I study prairie rivers and I am especially interested in algal communities and using lipids to explore food webs.
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