Don't worry, they can't actually see you. Before we share the evidence, we should back up: This isn't really anything new. Way back in , Francis Darwin — the son of the one and only Charles Darwin — argued the same thing. He theorized that plant leaves have organs made up of lens-like cells and light-sensitive cells, organs now called ocelli. You can see ocelli, sometimes called simple eyes, in all sorts of animals; some arthropods have them , for example, as do sea creatures like jellyfish and sea stars. But plants? Now that would be surprising.
Darwin's theory was all but forgotten until recently, when a new wave of something called plant neurobiology started gaining steam. Exhibit A: Earlier in , researchers discovered that an ancient species of cyanobacteria actually act like tiny lenses in what is "probably the world's smallest and oldest example of a camera eye. Exhibit B, according to Scientific American , is that "some plants, such as the cabbage and mustard relative Arabidopsis, make proteins that are involved in the development and functioning of eyespots — the ultrabasic eyes found in some single-celled organisms such as green algae.
We don't know that it uses vision to achieve this, but it's a possibility. Recent scientific research has proven that plants are way more complex than we give them credit for. There's a lot more going on in those leaves and roots than we previously thought. Get stories like this one in your inbox or your headphones: sign up for our daily email and subscribe to the Curiosity Daily podcast.
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Show students the book Seeing by Rebecca Rissman. Explain that it is a nonfiction book, which means the information is true.
Read and discuss the book paying particular attention to certain facts either mentioned in the book or brought up in discussion:. Then pair your students up with a partner. One student in each pair will wear a blindfold. The sighted student acts as a guide.
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Remain this way for about ten minutes. You may take a walk down the hall, around the room or out to the playground. Did they find that they used more of their other senses?
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Then switch places and repeat the activity. Eyes Closed Worksheet: What I should never do with my eyes closed! Students think of activities that would be dangerous without the sense of sight. Things to See: Write and illustrate your favorite thing to see at home, at school and outside. Extra Eye Facts:. Extra Activities:. Graph the eye colors of the students.
How to cope with a decreasing sense of sight
Use a large chart or a white board. To make a bar graph, write the eye colors across the bottom: brown, blue, green or hazel. Students write their names in the correct color column based on their eye colors. Which eye color is the most represented? The least?
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Play I Spy! Rissman, Rebecca. Heinemann Library,