Animal magic

11 October 2018

Last month, the Science Ambassadors from Cleves Cross Primary School – all girls from Year 5 – learnt more about how animals see light at an event organised by community group Approach Too. They were joined at the event by Year 4 students from the school and four other local primary schools from the Durham Ferryhill & Chilton Ogden Primary Partnership.

Dr Pete Edward’s, Director of Science Outreach & Science and Society Officer in the Department of Physics at Durham University, visited the school to help them with their understanding of the light. Jay Gunn and his friends, from Jay’s Animal Encounters, were on hand to help with day’s discoveries. Jay brought a variety of animals with him to really bring the science to life, as the pupils learned about how each animal has evolved different ways of seeing the world. The Science Ambassadors explain more: 

“We discovered that snakes don’t see very well in daylight, but their night vision is excellent! They have sensors in their nostrils that detect heat to help them hunt down their prey. In contrast, meerkats see very well in daylight. They have dark patches around their eyes to protect them from the glare of the bright sunlight and they stay hidden underground during the night.

“In addition, we learned that lizards have a third eye on top of their head which helps them determine light levels.

“As they taught us about voles, Pete played a cheeky trick on us. He showed us a flask of voles’ urine and then, to our horror, took a drink from it! Of course, it wasn’t real urine, it was just plain water.

“We really enjoyed our afternoon and learned so much. We are really looking forward to our next science adventure.”


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