Observation Skills

  1. Use the How observant are you? activity to demonstrate to the students that memory is not literal. We do not remember exactly what we see, our memories are affected by opinion, expectation, and other subjective factors.

  2. Have the students discuss the factors that may affect memory. Then, use the How observant are other people? activity to allow the students to see how eyewitnesses may not be reliable.

  3. Discuss Perceptual Fallacies and emphasize how the Scientific Method attempts to remove personal experience from the scientific process.

  4. Demonstrate the effect that light can have on the way we perceive an object. Set up a dark area with only one source of light. Using either a red, blue or green light bulb, allow the students to briefly look at several colored paper cut-outs of various objects. For example, cut a heart shape from a yellow piece of construction paper, a diamond from a blue piece of paper and so on. Allow the students to look briefly at the cut-outs under red light. Ask them to write down the color of the object. Repeat this using different light bulbs and different cut-outs. You may want to follow-up with a discussion about the properties of light and combining light colors.

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