RLA ASPIRE Visit 2019

ASPIRE (Authentic Science Partnership Inquiry Research Experience)

In March, ASPIRE's  lead scientist returned to R.L. Angus.  This time we were interested in studying the EYE.  We had done some background research and had found out some very interesting information.
We learnt how the eye takes in sensory information and how the brain processes it so we can ACT in a meaningful way.  Before the scientist came to RLA we wanted to:

  • learn the parts of the eye
  • explore the function of each part
  • find out why the every part was important
  • discover how the eye actually works.

We also needed to investigate the electromagnetic spectrum to see why we can only see colour and certain wave lengths.  Because we knew that we would be dissecting a sheep’s eye we wanted to know how a sheep’s eye is different than a human eye.

Photo Credit: The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Museum of Vision & Ophthalmic Heritage
Museum of Vision

Below are some of the web sites and video we used to get ready for our “hands – on  “Inquiry into the EYE”.

The Visual System – How the Your Eyes Works

Human A&P: Anatomy of the Eye.  by Danny D., 2010.

Bill Nye The Science Guy on The Eyeball (Full Clip).  2009.

 “Animal Eyes”.  The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Museum of Vision & Ophthalmic Heritage, 1997.


How Do Dogs See The World? by Think Fact, 2015.

When Matthew Gilbert arrived at RL Angus students were ready to begin their investigation  into the Visual System.  Matthew began his presentation by giving an overview of his recent research and field work on Climate Change and Arctic Char.

IntroductionClimate Change Concerns
Access to Traditional Knowledge is valued.People rely on Arctic Char as a Food Source

He explained how the investigation of the Visual System could be applied and compared to all sensory processing.

All sensory systems are based on

  • A Signal – information (stimulus)  about our surrounding.
  • The Collection of this signal
  • The Transduction of stimulus into a nerve signal.
  • The Processing of this information by our nervous system.
  • Information is used to create a resulting Action.
Based on the example of the visual system, all sensory system can be described as below:
Thomas.haslwanter [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Station One: The SignalStation Two: Collection and Transduction
During the SIGNAL station students explored the physics behind how visual light signals are transmitted to the eye. Students developed a more concrete understanding of the mechanism behind visual light including wavelength by listening to sound waves played at very low and very high frequencies. Students were also introduced to the idea that visual light forms just a small part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Through the use of ultraviolet lights, radios and infrared cameras, students saw direct evidence of the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that are not normally observed in our day to day lives. During the COLLECTION and TRANSDUCTION station students
Station Three: ProcessingStation Four: Action
During the PROCESSING station students learned about how our brains make sense of the images our eyes received. This involved thinking about the different neurological structures in our brain and introducing the idea that each part of our brain performs a different function. In particular we focused on the role of our occipital lobe, Parietal lobe, cerebellum and temporal lobe all play in vision. We also examined the relationship between our visual and auditory systems as well as vision and our memory through a series of optical illusions. Overall students were left with the understanding that the world we see around us is one that is deeply influenced and interpreted by the structures of our brain.

At the "ACTION" station students developed a method to test what ACTION worms would take when given the opportunity to choose to move to light or dark environments. Students discovered that worms were able to detect light using light sensitive receptors on their skin, process the information, and take ACTION. (They observed all the worms move towards the dark side of the pizza box.)
Students learned that all living creatures they have an electrical current running through their body. Using energy sticks (see posters below) students demonstrated that we are indeed electric beings... the brain and the nervous system is a super highway of electrical signals, processing and delivering millions of messages to the entire human body every second telling us to take ACTION.
Lastly students tested their reaction time to a visual stimuli.
Check it out at
Just Park


Ms. Armitage's ClassMs. Cowans's Class
Ms. Dogherty's ClassMs.Virginillo's Class
Ms. Dekaneas' Grade 7 ClassMs. Clark's Grade 7 Class