The Eyes Have It

Christine Anne Royce
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Experiment/Lab Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan , Activity
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.



This resource is a 5-E lesson plan that explores how all animals must adapt to their environment to survive. Students will explore animal adaptations using the book “Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World” to explain show how body structures assist in survival. The lesson focuses on how an animal’s eyes allow it to communicate, obtain food, find a mate, and avoid predators.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Access Restrictions

Available by subscription - The right to view and/or download material, often for a set period of time, by way of a financial agreement between rights holders and authorized users.

Performance Expectations

K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
To meet this Performance Expectation, the teacher must explicitly state that students are creating models to represent animal eyes. After making the models, students will engage in activities that will allow them to experience how an animal behaves (communicates, searches for food, etc.) Students will also create sketches of what they see utilizing the models of eyes.

1-LS1-2 Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.

Clarification Statement: Examples of patterns of behaviors could include the signals that offspring make (such as crying, cheeping, and other vocalizations) and the responses of the parents (such as feeding, comforting, and protecting the offspring).

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will use information from a trade book to discuss several types of animals, the types of eyes they have, and how eye structure relates to their behavior.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
With the teacher's assistance students will create three different models of animal eyes, discuss how the models (eye structure) relates to an animal’s behavior, and compare the models to their own eyesight.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will explain how the different structures and types of animal eyes to better understand how they are able to collect and use information to grow and survive.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students will engage in simulations using models of different types of animal eyes to better understand how animals are able to collect and use information.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson addresses all three dimensions as defined by the NGSS. This lesson meets the Performance Expectation for first grade, Disciplinary Core Idea, and K-2 engineering design by having students create models to represent animal eyes.

  • Instructional Supports: The author provides a graphic organizer where students will sketch and describe what they see when they use each type of eye model and where they make a comparison to their own eyes. The author provides suggestions on how to utilize the text and discussion questions. Students experience phenomena through literature and firsthand experience using models of bird’s eyes. Students will have the opportunity to connect their learning about animal’s eyes by using models to experience and record what they see. This resource can be accessed at

  • Monitoring Student Progress: According to the author, students are evaluated several times throughout this 5-E lesson. “Students are asked to explain their initial understanding of the type and location of an animal’s eyes during the “Engage” phase, followed by sketching, recording basic observations, and explaining their findings during the “Explore” and “Explain” phases of the activity. Finally, students are asked to apply their experiences using the eye models to a drawing related to what a human would see and what an animal would see when looking at the same object.”

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -