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Inquiry 10: How Does It Work? Project Ideas

The following are additional project ideas that may be used during your study of optics as extensions to the other activities. The enrichment opportunities will help you learn more about the human eye, vision problems, ophthalmology, the design of optical devices, and the history of theories involving light and its properties.

Research - Work in pairs on a vision problem or disease, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, colorblindness, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, or cataracts. With your partner, find and present answers to the following questions:

    What causes this vision problem or disease?

    How are different parts of the eye affected?

    How can this vision problem or disease be helped by technology, devices, or surgical procedures?

    How does each device or procedure work to change the affected parts of the eye to enhance better vision?

Once you have completed your research, prepare a poster, pamphlet, or other form of presentation that explains to others the causes and treatment of the problem or disease you investigated.

Research/Interview - Research how eyeglasses or contact lenses are made and how they are designed to correct various vision problems. Report on changes in the design of contact lenses and materials used to make them since the first ones were made available to the public (for example, the evolution of hard contact lenses, soft contact lenses, disposable lenses, or bifocal contact lenses). Conduct an interview with an optician or ophthalmologist to find out more about the fitting of contact lenses and the problems they encounter.

Model - Design models that illustrate the similarities and differences between the human eye and devices that use lenses, such as cameras, microscopes, and telescopes.

Timeline - To integrate history and the study of optics, research and prepare a timeline large enough to be displayed in your classroom on the history of lenses, the history of optical instruments, or the history of basic theories involving light and its properties. For more information refer to the Science, Optics & You Timeline.

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