Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
October 7, 2011

Eye Get It! Cow Eyes, Telescopes, and Convex Lenses

By Stacey Burt
Grades 6–8

    One of the most complicated ideas I teach is the difference between concave and convex lenses and how they are used in telescopes. Over the years I have tried numerous different resources and websites to assist me with instruction in this area. About five years ago during a cow eye dissection, as part of a study on the human body and body systems, one of my students turned to me and said, “Wow! Look at the way the lens magnifies the print on this paper! It works like a convex lens!” That was my “aha!” moment.

     

    We know that it is always best practice to integrate different content areas when teaching, so why combining this lab with the study of telescopes and lenses had never occurred to me, I had no idea.  If you are experiencing the same frustration with the teaching of concave and convex lenses, here are resources you might use to complete a cow eye dissection in your classroom.

    One of the best strategies EVER for conducting a cow eye dissection in the classroom is to check out first-hand how it is done. While there are several books out there, my favorite is Cow Eyes, Beef Hearts, and Worms by The Wild Goose Company. It is a great resource to have for basic dissections. However, the best go-to resource for a true, visual experience of a cow eye dissection can be found at the wonderrful Exploratorium website.

    It goes into great detail describing how lenses work and provides a video of a cow eye dissection for you to view before you conduct your own lab. It could also be used as an alternative for the dissection itself if time, money, or a weak stomach is an issue. As for where to purchase your cow eyes, I suggest Carolina Biological. It is the resource that I have had the best luck with as far as reliability and quality.


    I know this will be a lab and a learning experience that your students will never forget! Making concave lenses a hands on experience has never been so much fun and connecting it to telescopes and other uses should be simple after this experience.

    Best-

    Stacey

    One of the most complicated ideas I teach is the difference between concave and convex lenses and how they are used in telescopes. Over the years I have tried numerous different resources and websites to assist me with instruction in this area. About five years ago during a cow eye dissection, as part of a study on the human body and body systems, one of my students turned to me and said, “Wow! Look at the way the lens magnifies the print on this paper! It works like a convex lens!” That was my “aha!” moment.

     

    We know that it is always best practice to integrate different content areas when teaching, so why combining this lab with the study of telescopes and lenses had never occurred to me, I had no idea.  If you are experiencing the same frustration with the teaching of concave and convex lenses, here are resources you might use to complete a cow eye dissection in your classroom.

    One of the best strategies EVER for conducting a cow eye dissection in the classroom is to check out first-hand how it is done. While there are several books out there, my favorite is Cow Eyes, Beef Hearts, and Worms by The Wild Goose Company. It is a great resource to have for basic dissections. However, the best go-to resource for a true, visual experience of a cow eye dissection can be found at the wonderrful Exploratorium website.

    It goes into great detail describing how lenses work and provides a video of a cow eye dissection for you to view before you conduct your own lab. It could also be used as an alternative for the dissection itself if time, money, or a weak stomach is an issue. As for where to purchase your cow eyes, I suggest Carolina Biological. It is the resource that I have had the best luck with as far as reliability and quality.


    I know this will be a lab and a learning experience that your students will never forget! Making concave lenses a hands on experience has never been so much fun and connecting it to telescopes and other uses should be simple after this experience.

    Best-

    Stacey

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Stacey's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
"Unboxing" Creative Potential: An Activity for Digital Natives

Grab the attention of digital natives by speaking their language. Explore ways to reach these students by creating "unboxing" videos to introduce a topic or check for understanding across all content areas. 

By Stacey Burt
October 18, 2016
Blog Post
The Power of Interest and Independent Study

Scholastic Printables has a great, free Student Interest Survey. It provides insight into my learners, gives me instant conversation starters, and drives my planning. Read on for tips for using student high interest topics to fuel independent study.

By Stacey Burt
October 5, 2016
Blog Post
The Big Send-Off — Lessons Beyond the Classroom
For many of you, what your students do outside of your classroom may also cross your mind. You follow their successes and sometimes their disasters. You celebrate and mourn with them over decisions they make that mold the young people they are becoming. This year, however, I was deeply impacted by what one of my students taught me. Read on to learn about this remarkable girl.
By Stacey Burt
May 18, 2012
Blog Post
State Test Prep, "Pi Games"-Style

Survey any 6th grade class in the nation and I am positive they will all agree that The Hunger Games series is awesome. This title has so affected my students that when the final rounds of classroom test prepping came up, we decided to create an event that would include both 5th and 6th grades in high-interest math review, and voila, the first annual Pi Games were born.

By Stacey Burt
May 4, 2012
Blog Post
Discover Socrative — The Free Student Response System
Student response systems have been making a big splash in classrooms around the nation for a while. As you know, they provide teachers instant feedback on learning gains and student retention of material. However, the price can be a bit discouraging. Make way for the app Socrative. It is a FREE application that allows educators to create quizzes for use not only with laptops, but also smart phones and tablets.
By Stacey Burt
April 20, 2012
My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us