How a Cat's Eyes Work – Full Lesson Plan

High quality cat image

If your children have questioned why the cat's eyes are different, or how a cat's eyes work, or you are looking for an exciting science lesson for them to learn from, this lesson plan. This lesson plan, and all of its components are free and will help your child learn how a cat's eyes work.

This is also a great plan to use before you enter into lessons surrounding vision. Many younger children will understand this lesson, but even older children can benefit from it as well. You can easily adapt your teaching approach for homeschool children if you have children from more than one age group.

Materials You Need

When entering into this lesson plan, the first thing you will want to do is read the lesson to them. The reading lesson is provided below, and can be printed from the PDF format.

If your children are at an age where they can read, you can have them take turns reading the paragraphs below, which will expand on their reading abilities. Since it can be printed, you can make a copy for each of your children so they have a hard copy for question time.

You will notice that some of the words are in bold. These are the vocabulary words for the lesson. There is also a printable vocabulary PDF available for these words as well. Make it a point to review this vocabulary list before you begin the lesson.

Reading Lesson

Perhaps you have thought about what makes a cat's eyes look different, or how they work in the dark? Have you ever asked yourself the reason why their eyes are formed in a different way in comparison to yours? Why do their eyes glow in the dark? Can a cat see better than you? Why is it so hard to sneak up on a cat, even if it is completely dark?

If you take a really good look at the eyes of a cat, you will see that the middle part of their eye, the pupil, is not shaped the same as yours is. Most cats have a pupil shaped like a small line, or slit, or they could be a big round circle. Unlike humans, a cat can change the size of their pupil as the light changes. This lets them adjust their vision so they can see better.

At dark, a cat's eye needs a lot more light to see, so the pupil becomes bigger, or dilates. This lets them bring more light into their eye, making their vision better. At night, you might notice that a cat's eyes look like they are glowing in the dark. This is because of how their eye becomes bigger in the dark. The appearance of glowing is caused by a part of their eye called the tapedum lucidum. This part of the eye is right behind the retina. The tapedum lucidum acts like a mirror inside their eye. It allows the light their eye takes in to reflect more, making their vision even clearer.

During the day, a cat does not need as much light to see, because there is enough light in the world around them. During this time, their pupil is small, and may look like a small line or slit.

At first, you may think that a cat can see better than humans, especially since they are able to see in the dark, and since they can see you sneaking up on them from the side. The truth is, cat's are not able to see better than humans. Their vision is very poor in comparison to ours. Even though a cat cannot see as clear as we can, they are able to see things that are moving farther away than we can.

Since a cat's vision is more blurry than a human's, they are not able to see the same colors we do. Cats have a form of colorblindness that keeps them from seeing a lot of colors.

Now you know what a cat can see. You also know they cannot see all of the pretty colors we do. Would you want to see like a cat?

Group Discussion About How a Cat's Eyes Work

After you have read the reading lesson, you can ask your children questions about what they learned. We recommend asking the following discussion.

Discuss the facts about a cat's eyes and what makes them different from the human eye.

What are the benefits of having eyes like a cat?

What are the negatives about having a cat's eyes?

Craft Time! Science Craft on How a Cat's Eyes Work

What you will need:

  • 2 sheets of black construction paper per child
  • 1 Sheet of yellow construction paper per child
  • Glue

Provide your child with each of the materials above. Let them cut out three pairs of cat eye shapes. Have each child make a craft of a cat's eye slitted, medium dilated, and fully dilated.

Make sure to have fun with this science lesson. Your kids will love learning about the ways a cat's eyes work, and they will absolutely love the craft that follows.

Homeschool Mom

About Charlene Little

Charlene is a writer, a self-made momtrepreneur, and a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She has four wonderful, very active young boys. With all there is to do everyday, things are always chaotic and she loves every minute of it. Things we do in everyday life are a learning experience, and her… Full author bio

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