Sunday, 12 February 2012

Teaching about the Eye using Android Apps

Colour-Blind People Have an Advantage.
 Eye structure mobile phone app activity.

Every member of the UK Olympic shooting team is colour-blind to some extent.  People who are colour-blind have an advantage over those who have 'normal' vision. They can spot things that others cannot. New research has shown that colour blind monkeys are better at catching camouflaged prey than monkeys with "normal" eyesight – something which may also apply to humans.

Effect of colour vision status on insect prey capture efficiency of captive and wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.)  February 2012 Andrew C. Smith | Alison K. Surridge | Mark J. Prescott | Daniel Osorio | Nicholas I. Mundy | Hannah M. Buchanan-Smith


Essential Questions
Why do people who are colour blind have an advantage over those who have 'normal' vision? 
What is different about their eyes? 

You are the doctor attached to the Olympic shooting team.  
A new innovation to introduce a paralympic colour-blind shooting competition is planned.
You have to find out what is different about the vision of colour blind people.
You have to prepare an argument for the Olympic committee to keep your best marksmen (who are colour-blind) in the team.
You will experience the sight of a colour blind person, and test your own vision.  You will learn the structures of the eye and compare different light sensitive cells.  Your report will make clear the reasons why colour blindness may be advantageous, and not a reason to create a Paralympic team.

Running the Activity
  1. Introduce the task using the narrative above and the Slide Rocket Presentation for students.
  2. Test colour vision of students  with either Colour blindness test app   (It's best to  say that this is optional – be sensitive to students who don’t want to )   iPad Colour Blindness test app
  3. Class Discussion:  Ask students what is going on, in the eye. Which part of the eye is not working, why not?
  4. Then use the Daltonizer app on Android phone  or Cromatic Vision Simulator  on ipad  to look at objects rich in primary colours -  to experience what colour blind people see –
  5. Ask the questions.  
    • Which primary colours of light – Red, green, blue can be seen?  
    • Which parts of the eye are sensitive to light?
    • Which part causes colour-blindnes in the eye?
  6. Students complete the  Structure and Function ofthe Eye Worksheet – by researching in their text book or on the web.

Resources - iPhone App

Chromatic Vision Simulator by Kazunori Asada (Free App)

The “Chromatic Vision Simulator” is a chromatic simulation tool. It makes a simulated video of each chromatic from the built-in camera and shows you how people with a specific type of color vision deficiency is seeing the world and this in real-time.
Type: CVDSimulation

App Store - Color Blind Test
 14,565 votes - Free
23 Sep 2009 – To download the free app Color Blind Test by TOMATO Co.,Ltd, get iTunes ... It is a iPhone app that you cantest easily if you are color blind.

Android Apps

Resources - Web 2.0

Colour-blindness test on the web: -

Voicethread  -      A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).


  1.          Students prepare an argument for the regulator, to persuade her to keep the best (colour-blind) marksmen in the team.
  2.          Show the regulator images of the vision of colour-blind people.
  3.      Explain what the cause is, including details of the eye.
  4.      The argument could be recorded using web2.0 tools like Vocaroo, Voicethread or written in Word, or by hand.

Technician preparation list.
A range of objects which are rich in primary colours will be required.  These could be text books, or posters.

To be able to label and annotate the structures of the eye. 
To be able to compare the structure and function of rod and cone cells.  

Syllabus links
Option E Neurobiology and Behaviour

References to other activities.

Alternative Ways

Myriad Alien Dalvik enables Android applications to operate on non-Android devices, allowing OEMs, operators and application stores to leverage the Android eco-system across a much wider range of devices.
As a practising teacher I know that activities work best when adapted to student interests and that these are not always the same in every school. Please add your ideas to the comments section below.

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