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Mystery of the Senses—Vision

Viewing Ideas

Before Watching

  1. As a class, brainstorm a list of activities in students' daily lives that would be different if they were blind. For instance, how do people who are blind sort the money in their wallets? Blindfold the students and give them a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. Instruct them to identify each coin and describe what features help them identify it. Which coins were most difficult to identify? Why? Ask students how they would repeat this activity if they were asked to distinguish between a five-dollar bill and a one-dollar bill or the contents of canned goods.

  2. Discuss the correlation between what we see and our interpretations of what we see. Then discuss how people in different professions - such as an advertising executive, a painter, and an architect - might interpret the same object - such as an old barn or a busy city restaurant. As students watch this episode, have them write down the biological elements that allow people to see, and the values that influence how various people interpret what they see.

After Watching

  1. This episode focuses on some of the ways that we use vision in our daily lives. One of the most important visual skills for many people is reading. People who are blind get information from printed material by listening to audiotapes, using computers with voice synthesizers, listening to other people read aloud, or using their sense of touch to read braille. To teach your students about living without vision, contact a local organization for the blind. The American Foundation for the Blind Information Center (800-232-5463/, or the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped ( can help you.

Teacher's Guide
Mystery of the Senses—Vision