Seeing Is Believing
Ages 7 and older.
Have you ever walked in the dark and bumped into something? Some people have an
eye disease called glaucoma that causes them to see only straight ahead. They
can't see what most people see out of the corners of their eyes, so it's
sometimes difficult not to bump into things. In this activity, you will learn
about how people with glaucoma see. Percy Julian helped make an eye medicine
for people with glaucoma.
You Will Need
- two 3-oz opaque paper cups for each person
- sharpened pencil
Note: Only one pair of partners should be in motion at a time.
What to Do
- Find a partner. Read all of the directions before you begin.
- Turn your cups upside down. Use your pencil to poke a hole in the middle of
the bottom of each of the cups. Put the pencil all the way through the hole and
pull it out the other side. (see illustration)
- Decide who will place the cups over his or her eyes first. Without wearing
the cups, walk with your partner around the table and back to your seat.
- Now, hold both cups up to your eyes, placing the rim of the cups around your
eyes, so that you can see only through the holes in the cups. With your partner
as a guide, carefully walk around the table and back to your seat.
- Switch roles so your partner does steps #3 and #4 above.
- What was it like wearing the cups over your eyes?
- What was different about seeing only through the center hole in the cups
and not seeing out of the corner of your eyes?
- What sort of activities might be more difficult for you to do if you
couldn't see out of the corner of your eyes?
- What did you do while wearing the cups to keep from bumping into
- Some people with glaucoma can see well after taking the eye medicine
Percy Julian helped to discover. How might their lives change because of the
Extension: Try walking around the table with only one eye covered by the
cup. Does it look or feel different? Note: This activity can be
adapted for younger kids using adults as the helper.
Great Black Heroes: Five Brilliant Scientists
by Linda Jones and Ron Garnett (Illustrator).
Scholastic, Cartwheel Books, 2000. Presents the life and work of Percy Lavon
Julian, George Washington Carver, Ernest Everett Just, Shirley Ann Jackson, and
Susan McKinley Stewart.
The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses
by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 2001.
Allows children to explore the senses by traveling in a school bus through an
eye and ear.
Neuroscience for Kids: The Eye
Explains vision and has a diagram of the eye as well as a crossword puzzle and
Percy Julian and the Eye
Percy Julian became a chemistry professor and a research scientist. He
succeeded in synthesizing a drug named physostigmine (fie so STIG meen), which
is used to treat glaucoma, a disease that can lead to blindness.
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Created January 2007