- Peer Review: Animal Eyes and Evolution
Animal Eyes and Evolution
- Mar 6, 2004 by Teacher Education
Twenty eight beautiful photos of diverse animal eyes are linked to
descriptions of how eyes work in various animals. The site includes answers to common questions and an annotated set of Web Links for teaching about eyes. One gallery is entitled - Eye, Eye, Eye, Eye -
and provides information about evolutionary features of eyes. It is linked
another identical gallery entitled - Whose Eye Is It, Anyway? - which
questions about structure and function.
Links are provided at the bottom to BioMedia photo galleries and a wide
of proprietary teaching and learning materials that share a rich sampling
free products that could also prove very useful to the classroom. These
include worksheets, study guides, downloadable video clips, animated gifs,
microscopic photos, and ordering information.
- Type of Material:
Collection, Visual images. Supplemental sample materials are also linked
from the BioMedia products. These samples are high quality and worth
on their own even if none of the proprietary materials are purchased.
- Recommended Uses:
Elementary and secondary students, student teachers, and educators can find
resource images for presentations, reports, research projects, and personal web
for teaching about eye evolution. This site can be used as a resource for
faculty wanting to model appropriate copyright use and respect. Permission is
granted by the authors for students to use the materials to make
reports for class assignments and to download and use a maximum of 3
illustrations. This would appear to be an appropriate use for plant and
structure, function, environmental adaptations. [There may be a temptation
want to use more.] An excellent discussion of copyright and plagiarism is
provided and would make a valuable teaching tool on these concepts in
to the biological content. It would make a good resource for teachers who
to teach or apply the NETS standards.
- Technical Requirements:
Teachers should provide their own download instructions and should teach
appropriate web ethics and copyright procedures to their students prior to
this material. Thumbnail images are presented to facilitate loading of
amounts of graphics, but older, slower machines or modem connections may
be challenged. Text material loads quickly and can be used as an initial
while graphics are loading. Warnings are appropriately provided for any
- Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students explore the biology, diversity and evolution of eyes.
- Target Student Population:
Upper elementary (with appropriate guidance) through university students and
educators; Science educators.
- Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Readability might be an issue for young users, but text content seems
appropriate for a wide range of audiences. A great deal of information is
provided in a well organized, well illustrated, attractive, user-friendly,
by step format.
When evolution skeptics want to attack Darwin, they often point to the
human eye. How could something so complex, they argue, have developed through
random mutations and natural selection, even over millions of years? But eyes
corresponding to every stage in possible sequence of eye evolution steps that
confer a survival advantage have been found in existing living species. This
collection of resources supports the existence of a range of complexity in
light-sensitive structures and thus provides evidence to support scientific
hypotheses about how complex eyes like ours could evolve. The vsual images are
exquisite and comprehensively presented in a very usable format. Information
appears to be accurate and comprehensive, but concisely
There is a typographical error on the first line!
- Qusetions appear under the images... -
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The introduction page provides excellent material to generate questions and
inspire scientific thinking about evolution. The answers to common questions
or the annotated set of Web Links provide starting points for finding answers
to common questions. Mouseover
questions, great visuals and diagrams, and concise text formatting
enhance student ease in finding information. In addition to considering
how and why animal eyes
contribute to fitness, the resources are appropriate for discussion and removal of the common
misconception that existing animals are our ancestors. The material could be
used to build cladograms or to ask questions about common ancestors and about
We find the format to be very engaging. Samples from
BioMEDIA ASSOCIATES are definitely worthwhile, too.
The annotated set of Web Links for teaching about eyes target mainly middle
grade and high school students. Another set of web links with more advanced
resources would be welcome for the use by college faculty or by teachers who
might feel insecure about scientific handling of some of the evolution issues
that arise during classroom discussion about diversity of eyes.
Schools and homes with faster connections definitely have an advantage and
those without would have a disadvantage.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is easy to navigate and visually appealing. Links appear to be well
thought out. The conditions for
permission to use this material are clear and instructions on how to accurately
acknowlegde the source are explicit through a PERMISSION link that appears at
the bottom of each web page.
Three of the sixteen links on the opening page matrix did not work when a
reviewer checked on 20031007 and again on 20040107.
- Other Issues and Comments:
This well-organized resource is concisely linked and subdivided for the most
part and would make an excellent resource for teachers wishing to
attractively presented, scientifically accurate information in a concise
on any of the topics within the presentation. We feel that it would be an
excellent and appropriate resource for exploration by advanced students on their own,
any student with appropriate teacher guidance and scaffolding.
While the original table is interactive on the first click, the
nature of the presentation beyond the first link may require additional
structuring by teachers who want to use this material for learning
centers or as
part of the required content of a course for anything other than a
reference to one of the specific concepts presented. (ie. Teachers
present WebQuests, study guide shells, or other means if they want
do other than explore for enrichment or go to specific links for
Even though the graphics are extremely nice, another caution for
using only the
eye galleries and first level links is that a fairly high reading level
required for processing some of the information.
Most importantly, thanks go to the author for making this valuable
- Creative Commons: