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published by the WGBH Educational Foundation
This video-based interactive activity gives users a close-up and fascinating view of the anatomy of a real cow eye as it is dissected by a teenage narrator.  You'll get a view of the cornea, watch light refract through the extracted lens, see the retina from the inside, and more. The Flash movies are divided into 12 segments which may be stopped/started interactively.  Each segment contains text information with vocabulary definitions in hover-over format.  The resource also provides a diagram of the eye and detailed illustrations of how the eye refracts light and sends messages to the optic nerve.  

PBS Learning Media is a growing collection of 10,000+ free educational resources compiled by researchers and experienced teachers to promote the use of digital resources in the classroom.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
- The Eye
= Physiology
- Middle School
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
= Sound
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2007 WGBH Educational Foundation, http://www.teachersdomain.org/terms_of_use.html
cornea, dissection, eye, eye anatomy, interactive video, movie clips, optic nerve, optics, optics videos, retina, science videos, videos, vision
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created June 12, 2009 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 17, 2008

Next Generation Science Standards

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes (MS-LS1)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (6-8)
  • Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories. (MS-LS1-8)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)
  • An object can be seen when light reflected from its surface enters the eyes. (4)
  • The path that light travels can be traced as straight lines, except at surfaces between different transparent materials (e.g., air and water, air and glass) where the light path bends. (6-8)
Structure and Function (LS1.A)
  • In multicellular organisms, the body is a system of multiple interacting subsystems. These subsystems are groups of cells that work together to form tissues and organs that are specialized for particular body functions. (6-8)
  • Multicellular organisms have a hierarchical structural organization, in which any one system is made up of numerous parts and is itself a component of the next level. (9-12)
Information Processing (LS1.D)
  • Different sense receptors are specialized for particular kinds of information, which may be then processed by the animal's brain. Animals are able to use their perceptions and memories to guide their actions. (4)
  • Each sense receptor responds to different inputs (electromagnetic, mechanical, chemical), transmitting them as signals that travel along nerve cells to the brain. The signals are then processed in the brain, resulting in immediate behaviors or memories. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information (K-12)
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to evaluating the merit and validity of ideas and methods. (6-8)
    • Gather, read, and synthesize information from multiple appropriate sources and assess the credibility, accuracy, and possible bias of each publication and methods used, and describe how they are supported or not supported by evidence. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E3. Light travels and tends to maintain its direction of motion until it interacts with an object or material. Light can be absorbed, redirected, bounced back, or allowed to pass through.
  • 6-8: 4F/M2. Something can be "seen" when light waves emitted or reflected by it enter the eye—just as something can be "heard" when sound waves from it enter the ear.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Nature and Behavior of Light
Unit Title: The Eye

We guarantee that this video-based activity will fascinate your students as they learn about the anatomy of the eye.  A teenage narrator dissects a real cow eye (with optic nerve attached) in a 12-part Flash video.  Students will get an up close & personal view of the cornea, iris, lens, and retina as they control the pace of the videos.  Also includes an eye diagram and illustrations that show how the eye refracts light and sends messages to the optic nerve.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2007), WWW Document, (https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/).
PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection (WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, 2007), <https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/>.
APA Format
PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection. (2008, March 17). Retrieved July 18, 2024, from WGBH Educational Foundation: https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/
Chicago Format
WGBH Educational Foundation. PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, March 17, 2008. https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/ (accessed 18 July 2024).
MLA Format
PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection. Boston: WGBH Educational Foundation, 2007. 17 Mar. 2008. 18 July 2024 <https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection}, Publisher = {WGBH Educational Foundation}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {18 July 2024}, Month = {March 17, 2008}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection %D March 17, 2008 %I WGBH Educational Foundation %C Boston %U https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/ %O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D March 17, 2008 %T PBS Learning Media: Cow's Eye Dissection %I WGBH Educational Foundation %V 2024 %N 18 July 2024 %8 March 17, 2008 %9 application/flash %U https://oeta.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/lsps07.sci.life.stru.coweye/cows-eye-dissection/

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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