Science project – Eye adaptation to darkness

Me in the boy's schoolMe in front of the library

  • Mr. Witton, the science teacher of 7GN girls, first introduced about the science fair that will be held between our school(NLCS JEJU) school and BHA international school. Every students in year 7 and 8 should start a science project in order to compete in the real round in the science fair, said Mr Witton. He told us to make a team by themselves and think up with several questions that can be the main inquiry question of the project. There was a specific theme of the science fair – ‘Lights’. It was lucky for 7GN girls as they recently have been studying under the topic of Lights. As Cindy and Sophie were sitting next to each other and have been a great teammates so far in other areas, they decided to become a team. As soon as Cindy and Sophie paired up, they began to write their ideas down on Cindy’s notebook. They began to write down a few questions after some discussions, such as :How can fire produce enough lights for us to see in the dark?
    What do our bodies use lights for(naturally)?
    How do living creatures indicate the presence of lights with their brains?
    How can a lightening bolt absorb into the ground?
    Can there be more than one rainbow in the sky at the same time?
    How can the color of the aurora change?
    Why are there colors in the aurora?
    Why do dogs and cats see the world as black and white?

    While other teams in their class were still struggling with their questions and ideas, Cindy and Sophie wrote down the questions relatively easily. They then asked Mr Witton if he can come and look if there is a suitable question for a project. Mr Witton, first complimented them. He said that those questions are advanced, reflected the topic well, and aroused interest. However, their questions were not appropriate for practical experiments. As it was an experimental project which simply can not be done by research; they had to come up with another question. Cindy and Sophie were not entirely sure what to think up with, therefore they asked other groups about their questions. Sherry and Gaya’s group, for example, came up with a question like ‘What happens when lights is shone of an animal?’. Jessica and Becky, were satisfied with their question : ‘Does the color of light affect the temperature of water?’ Cindy and Sophie realized what to do at last. After a long conversation and discussion, they wrote a sentence with a question mark at the end of it :

    ‘Does one’s gender and age affect one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness?’

    It was a great inquiry question that can be applied to their science project. Mr Witton showed positive reaction towards the topic as well as Cindy and Sophie themselves. The bell rang, and the science class had finished. The homework that was given my Mr Witton was planning their projects. Cindy and Sophie divided their roles before they left the class.


  • The next lesson, Mr. Witton instructed Cindy and Sophie’s class to get started with their actual experiment with whatever props they needed. Every students, including CIndy and Sophie started planning for the practical experiment they are going to do. As Cindy and Sophie thought about how they should experiment their topic, they came up with the idea, “Why not make a room completely dark and put a five lettered word on the back of the room? We can do it in Mr. Chung’s classroom!”. They thought this strategy was ideal, and started to put this idea in the action. We were printing off easy words such as ‘happy’, ‘apple’, ‘smile’, when Mr. Witton asked us what we were planning to do. We told him what we were about to do and Mr. Witton looked puzzled, for some reason.
    “Are you sure that would work?”
    Cindy and Sophie didn’t know what he meant, so they just looked at each other, wondering what the problem was.
    “If you do it in a room, you would have to make the whole room absolutely dark, and are you sure you can do that?”
    The two scientists now realized what the problem was.
    “And, you would have to bring every single person you experiment on to that room, and that would be too time consuming, don’t you think?”
    Cindy and Sophie saw the point of Mr. Witton, and quickly tried to think of a new way. But unfortunately, we couldn’t. We asked for advice to Mr. Witton, and to our surprise, he came up with a solution too quickly.
    “Just use a recycled box and put a hole through it. That would make it dark. Put the words that you’ve printed out on the back of the box. That would work just fine.”
    ‘Oh’, was what first came to Cindy and Sophie’s mind. It was too easy for all the thinking that we’ve done. We agreed to Mr. Witton’s suggestion and started to plan our things all over again while Mr. Witton went out to get a box.
    Later on, Mr. Witton brought us a paper box, with a logo ‘miilk’ on it. We put our printed word on the back of the box as he has instructed. We looked through the tiny hole that was already there, but it was too tiny for us to see anything.
    Using a random pen on the table, we made the hole bigger, about the size of a person’s eye, and trimmed it with a scissor. Soon enough, the hole was big enough for us to see through it and try to identify the word inside.


  • After Cindy and Sophie’s box was perfect and all ready to be experimented on, they decided to research about the basic facts of their topic, ‘Eye Adaptation to Darkness’. They thought it would be ideal for them to know most of the basic facts, since after all, they were going to make a huge poster out of it. So, during their prep time, they researched about ‘Eye Adaptation to Darkness’ adn made ntoes about the vital information that they thought was most important.

    This was the topic that they used. They were quite proud of themselves for researching what their topic was about, and learned things that they didn’t even know about before. The next thing they did was to watch an educational video from youtube.

    After watching this video, the two girls were able to know how the eye adjusted to the light. They felt much comfortable and confident about their topic.

    Now that they knew the basic process of how our eyes adjust to darkness, they wanted more minor details. For this, they went to the Senior Library to search for books taht were related to ‘Eye Adaptation to Darkness’. As Mr. Nesbit had advised us to do, we used the library computer to search for books that were relevant to our topic. The results were :

    ‘The London Eye Mystery’


    ‘Little genius; Eyes’

    ‘Hevean eyes’

    ‘The evil eyes’

    ‘The glittering eyes’

    ‘Three blind eyes’

    ‘Having an eye test’

    ‘Eye Eye, Captin!’

    ‘Not much of a help’, they thought. So, they decided to look for real professional books in the third floor. And thankfully enough, although they weren’t able to find any books, they were able to find a magazine on one of the shelf that could tell us more about the eyes. This particular section of the magazine was called, “How does your eyes adapt to darkness?” We instantly knew that it was going to be big help. And the explanation was written quite easy, as it was in a magazine. By that time, they were able to know fully about how our eyes adjust to darkness. The only thing that Cindy and Sophie had to do was to start their experiment, as they were now experts in the topic of “Eye Adaptation to Darkness”.

  • Now that Cindy and Sophie knew all about the basic facts of “Eye Adaptation to Darkness”, it was now turn for them to actually put their experiment to work. It was Friday lesson, which they had one hour and twenty minutes to do their experiment. To start off with, they first decided to ask their classmates to look through the hole of the box and identify the word inside. The volunteers were Jessica, Sherry, Mr.
    Witton, Becky, and a few more. Their classmates were working on their science
    project as well but thankfully they were all keen to try our experiment and
    read the word inside. They tried on Jessica first, who was sitting right next to us. At first, she thought there was no way that she would be able to see the word inside since it was absolutely dark inside in the box. So, Cindy and Sophie explained that she should be able to see the word inside after some time passed. Jessica wasn’t sure that she could though. However, unlike what she told them, she was able to read the word within the time limit, which was one minute. It took only 9 seconds to
    identify the word, which was quite surprising. Then, Sherry volunteered. Sherry was quite confident, but she didn’t know that her eyes are supposed to adjust to the darkness. She didn’t seem to know that she had to wait until she could see it, so Cindy and Sophie had to explain what they had told Jessica all over again. After Sherry had understood what she exactly had to do, she looked inside the hole and was
    also able to identify the word, but slower than Jessica; 25 seconds. Cindy and Sophie recorded all the result that Jessica and Sherry produced, and made a chart. They changed
    the word constantly in order to make the test fair. The words were all five
    lettered and fairly easy to read out. While recording the results, Becky asked
    if she could try as well. Becky was first confused with the directions, but was
    soon able to understand and try and read out the word. She took 16 seconds to
    read out the word, which was ‘smile’. After Becky, at was Jin’s turn. Without noticing, a long line of students who wanted to try out their experiment was formed, and Jin was next. Of course, Cindy and Sophie had to explain all the steps and what she was supposed to do all over again. They assumed that they would have to do this every time they try their experiment on someone. Jin was able to identify the word in the time limit as well. She took 27 seconds. Cindy and Sophie recorded this result as well. After Jin was Ellie, and this time, thankfully, they didn’t have to explain the steps all over again because Ellie had overheard what we told Jin earlier. Ellie was able to see the word in the box quicker than Jin. She only took 15 seconds. Although it wasn’t our record, which was 9 seconds from Jessica, it was still quite quick. After Ellie, CIndy and Sophie thought this was enough for their classmate and sadly decided to cut the waiting line and start experimenting on the other people. However, there was someone they couldn’t just go without testing on; Mr. Witton, who was not their classmate volunteered for the experiment. They explained the steps of the experiment and took a picture of him to put it on the poster (of course, with his permission) . Mr. Witton was determined to identify the word inside the box, and he looked at it very closely. However, surprisingly enough, he wasn’t able
    to read out the word, even though he took over one minute. We recorded Mr. Witton as ‘Not able to see’. Now we had to experiment on other people around the school instead of just our classmate.


  • Before Cindy and Sophie could start experimenting on people from the whole school, they realized that they forgot one major thing; coming up with a hypothesis.
    “How come we didn’t think of coming up with a hypothesis before we did our experiment?”, they asked themselves. So they had to stop their experiment temporarily in order to come up with a hypothesis. They sat in their Science classroom, thinking about what could possibly happen.
    “I think, gender isn’t really relevant to one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness. Besides, it’s the same with eyesight. No one is ‘born’ with the potential of having bad eyesight. Every boy and girl are the same. Don’t you think?”, Sophie asked.
    “I think that’s right. Let’s put that down for our hypothesis”, said Cindy.
    So, the two girls wrote down their hypothesis for gender.
    “Now, what about the age?”, Sophie asked.
    “Well, I think age would affect one’s ability. I’ve heard that when you get older, your sight gets worse even if you don’t really do anything that would make your eyesight bad. Maybe it’s the same for their eye’s ability to adjust to darkness.”, Cindy said.
    Sophie agreed to Cindy’s hypothesis and they jogged down their second hypothesis for age.
    Now they were perfectly ready for the experiment.
    Time to experiment on the other people in school!


  • Yes, now it was time to do their experiment on the other people in the school. They were very excited to carry on this experiment. As soon as they walked inside the classroom door, they started to gather what they needed (it was just a box) and borrowed Mr. Witton’s phone to take pictures of people looking through the hole and try to read the word inside. Until this, it was all right. Cindy and Sophie went out of the classroom as if it was the most normal thing in the world, holding their box, notebook, pen, and Mr. Witton’s phone. The first place they went to was the Science office. There, there were two biology teacher, Mr. Cox and Mr. Gulian. Cindy and Sophie asked the two teachers to look through the hole of the box and try to identify the word inside, which was ‘music’. Sophie, who had a timer, timed Mr. Cox and Mr. Gulian while they strained to see the word. The surprising thing was that both of the two teachers weren’t able to read the word. They all went over 1 minute and still couldn’t see the word. As Cindy and Sophie thought about this, they realized that Mr. Witton also wasn’t able to see the word as well. They also noticed that the three teachers were around the same age group, which was ’29~49′. so, the two girls came up with the idea that middle-aged men aren’t good at adjusting their eyes to darkness. It was quite interesting. The next place they went to was the library. In the library, there were a lot of teachers and sixth-form students. The first person they went to was Soojung-Cho, the new head girl for the Big Six. She was kind enough to pause her work and do the experiment for us. Soojung was able to identify the word in 18 seconds. We recorded that result as well in Cindy’s note book. Now, it was Mr. Nesbit’s turn. Sophie timed Mr. Nesbit while he tried to read the word inside. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to. Next up was Mrs. Fowler, who was teaching some group of sixth-form students in the library. Almost as soon as she looked into the hole, she was able to read the word.
    “Is it Music?”, she asked.
    And yes, it was. What was very surprising was that Mrs. Fowler was our record holder. She only took 6 seconds to read the word. She was very proud of herself, and Cindy and Sophie doubted that anyone would break Mrs. Fowler’s record.
    After that, we went downstairs and met Mr. Yi, Mr. Pierce, and Mr. Bromham. They all volunteered to look inside the box and Sophie timed every single one of them. However, all three teachers weren’t able to identify the word inside. It was interesting, as Mr. Gualin, Mr. Cox, and Mr. Witton weren’t able to see the word as well.
    After that, it was Mrs. Pierce’s turn. She couldn’t read the word in it as well, unfortunately. She commented on how unbelievable it is for other people to actually read the word inside such darkness.
    Cindy and Sohpie went to the first floor of the library and met Julia, the desk teacher. They asked her if she would want to try too. She agreed, and she was able to see the word in 27 seconds. She was proud of herself as well, after she heard that most of the teachers weren’t able to see the word.
    When they walked out from the library, they happened to meet up with Miss Collier. They asked if she would want to try it as well. She did, and Sophie timed her as well. Miss Collier couldn’t see the word, though. She said that it was very odd, because she was actually very good at seeing words in dark places.
    After experimenting on those many people, Cindy and Sophie decided to go back to the classroom. And when they did, they didn’t know that they were in trouble.
    As soon as they walked in, Mr. Witton demanded, “Where have you been, girls?”
    So they told the whole story of asking people around the school. However, the one thing that they didn’t realize was that they hadn’t asked permission from Mr. Witton if they could go out and take his phone with them. Mr. Witton was upset and they were quite ashamed of themselves. However, it was good that we were able to finish our experiment. The only place we have left is our house, Harubang.


  • Time to investigate in Harubang! After the co-corricular activity time, Cindy and Sophie took their box to the 2nd floor where all the year seven boarding girls were in order to test their experiment on them. They tested mostly on 7GL girls, who were not in Cindy and Sophie’s science class. Fortunately, those girls showed positive reaction towards their experiment. For example, Jennifer in 7GL, was astonished by the box that they have made and the creative method they are using for their experiment. Jennifer volunteered as a subject of the experiment firstly. Cindy and Sophie had to explain all the methods of this experiments from the basic, as they did to their classmates in the school. The methods were in their heads; they didn’t even bother listing the methods without stopping. With a timer in Sophie’s hand, Jennifer started to look through the hole. A few seconds later, she was able to identify the 5 lettered word inside the box, which was ‘happy’. She took 34 seconds. Watching Jennifer looking through a strange-looking box in a strange pose, other girls who were wondering around their rooms and the corridors showed interests in Cindy and Sophie’s experiment. Many girls wanted to have a go. Cindy and Sophie were quite pleased. Emily, took 21 seconds, Lizzie, 17 seconds, Sydney, 36 seconds, and so on. Before the prep time, Cindy and Sophie found Millie, the gap student of Harubang, who was being ready to unlock the prep room door. They thought testing on Millie could be the good idea. Millie took 19 seconds to identify the word. Then, after the prep time, Ciindy and Sophie went up one floor, to the third floor where then junior students ( year 5 to 6) were living. They tested on several girls. The results were about the same. They were all able to sees the word within 1 minute. The final person that we experimented on was the authority of harubang house, Mrs Duffner. Mrs Duffner tried looking through the hole and see the world but unfortunately wasn’t able to.


  • After Cindy and Sophie finished going around the school and experimenting their experiment on teachers and students, they began to collect up the records that they’ve put down on Cindy’s notebook. The age groups and the genders were all mixed up together without order, and they had to sort it all out in order for them to make a clean chart for them to put on their final poster. Sorting out the age groups and gender was quite hard. Because all the records were all mixed up together, they had a hard time putting them in the right category. After a hard work of redrawing and writing, they were able to create a clean chart of the results that they recorded. After they were done, they started to sort out the results and see if their hypothesis matched with it. The first hypothesis was incorrect; Gender did seem to affect one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness. Compared with the women, men weren’t able to read the word as quickly and accurately. However, the second hypothesis was correct; Age affected one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness. The older people, over 50 or more, weren’t able to see the word as quickly and accurately as the younger people. If you see the chart that Cindy and Sophie made, you would be able to see the exact data that they’ve collected.


  • After doing all of the experiment, Cindy and Sophie now had to actually work on the poster that was going to be their final step for the whole science project. They were very proud of themselves for all the hard work that they put in whilst doing their experiment. They didn’t know how much effort they would have to put in before they saw how large the sheet for them to use was. It just seemed too large, to intimidating for them. They first thought about how to organize the structure of their poster. They first typed in the title and the aim for their project. And then, during their co-curricular activity, which was library, and typed in the step-by-step instructions of how they did their experiment. They first started off with the step for making the box. They wrote every possible detail that they thought would be necessary, and even mentioned how they came to the idea of doing an experiment on their topic, “Eye Adjustment to Darkness”. The next step was to test their classmates. They recorded the volunteer’s names and wrote down the time taken for them to read the word. It went the same for the third and the fourth step, which were “Test on people around the school”, and “Test on girls in Harubang”. The last step they wrote down was “Collecting data”. They wrote how their experiment turned out to be, and also wrote the statistical result of their experiment.
    After they were done writing the step-by-step instruction, they now had to paste it on the huge piece of paper. Cindy and Sophie first didn’t know how big the font had to be to take up the whole of that massive paper. So, they started off with ‘huge’ sizes of words. They had to try a couple of times to get the size and the fonts right. They worked on the poster mostly during their science class. In Harubang, they were too busy working on Managebac. So, they spent their science class time just printing, cutting, and glueing.
    Later on, they made graphs to show the statistical result more easily. The made tables, graphs, and charts that showed how their experiment turned out to be. They also stuck those on the paper as well. Currently, they are now almost finished, and only have to glue in the pictures that Mr. Witton has printed out for us.


  • Not only Cindy and Sophie had to work on their poster, they also had to go on the website called ‘ManageBac’, which they didn’t know about, until Mr Witton first introduced it to the whole class. There were first annoyed ; producing a poster that can be displayed and creating a process journal on ManageBac were too overwhelming for them. However, as they always did, as soon as they went to the prep room and logged in their computer, they started working on their ManageBac, still complaining about how absurd this whole thing was, expecting year 7 girls do such hard project.
    With the instruction sheet of ManageBac given by Mr Witton, they followed the basic steps.
    Log on to Managebac : Fortunately, Cindy and Sophie didn’t have any log – in problems unlike a few of their friends.
    Go to profile and click Personal project at the bottom of the page
    Click the ‘edit Personal Project Proposal” button, in the top right corner : Cindy and Sophie struggled finding the correct button little, but soon were able to click the right one.
    Fill out the form below : Cindy and Sophie filled in the topic of their project – Eye adaptation to darkness, main aim of the project – To find out if one’s gender and age affect one’s eyes’ ability to adjust to darkness, the inquiry question of their project – Does one’s gender and age affect one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness?. There was one more box to be filled – specifications. They typed the basic information of the eye adaptation to darkness. After that, they selected Mr Witton as the project supervisor, and clicked the save button.
    Click Worksheet on the right of the screen
    Write To-Dos : These are what Cindy and Sophie wrote
    Research what ‘eye adaption to darkness’ is for basic information. Reference : Website – , Youtube video –
    Go to the senior library and search for books relevant to our topic : Eye adaptation in darkness. The books that we have borrowed from the library in order to research are : Light and Dark Adaption by Michael Kalloniatis and A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara
    Make a survey to ask people whether they agree or disagree to our hypothesis – “One’s gender will not affect one’s eye’s ability to darkness but age will.”
    7. Make a plan : Cindy and Sophie made a planning document on Microsoft Word. They also made a quick timeline to divide their work across their homework time, library time and any free time at the weekend. They uploaded the plan and their timeline to the project document section.
    8. Click on the Process Journal button in the bottom right corner of the page : Cindy and Sophie were a little terrified because it was the first moment of starting writing the process journal.
    9. Adding a journal : Baring in mind that they should try and add something to the process everyday, Cindy and Sophie decided to divide their writing sections up in order to use time efficiently. Even though their diary entires do not had to be long, they wrote a lot and a lot, without hesitation. They also added some photos they’ve taken during experiment and planning charts as well.
    After they finished their ManageBac, they felt relieved, glad that the hardest work was all over. However, they still had some more to do.


  • When Cindy and Sophie thought they have approached to the stage where they should evaluate the whole project, they began to answer the questions below as the act of evaluating.
    1) Did you manage to achieve your starting goal? If so, how?- Yes. We managed to achieve our starting goal by carrying a fair experiment based on our topic. Our goal was to find out whether one’s gender and age affect one’s eye’s ability to adapt to darkness. The independent variables were the gender and age of the people that we experimented our project on. The dependent variables was time taken to read the word in the box within 1 minute for each person. We used the same for every people that we experimented on. The number of letters in a word, the time limit(1 minute) and the distance between the word and the hole were the constants. We considered all of these variables and tried our best to make the experiment fair, which led us to a successful achievement of our staring goal.

    2) What have you learnt about the process you went through in this project? (Think about all the different stages)

    – Thinking of a topic : We learned cooperation skills and how to put our thoughts together to make the best one.

    – Making the box : We learned communication skills by discussing method of how we could make an ideal box for our experiment.

    – Researching about our topic : We learned honesty by putting all the sites that we’ve used for learning about our topic.

    – Experimenting: We learned to be polite by asking people’s permission before we carried out our experiment. We also learned to be balanced by asking a variety of people with different range of age and gender.

    – Collecting in our data : We learned patience by waiting for the statistical result of our experiment, which we were keen on knowing.

    – Making our poster : We learned to be hard – working students by making our poster up to the best we can. We spent a lot of time making and remarking the poster in order to make it successful.

    – Working on ManageBac : We learned to do good team work by dividing up the sections of the process journal. Also, we managed our time well by using our prep-time and co-curricular time on Thursdays, which was library.

    3) What have you learnt about the topic you’ve been studying?

    – We learned that gender affects one’s eye’s ability to adjust to darkness, while age does. However, because our subject experiment was limited (NLCS Jeju people), we cannot be sure about this statement. We’ve also learned the basic information about ‘Eye adaptation to darkness’ by researching on websites and reading non-fiction books form the senior library.

    4) What have you learnt about being an IB learner (pick from the list below)

    Ø Inquirers – We showed the skills to conduct research and independent thinking.

    Ø Knowledgeable – We did our experiment with deep knowledge in our topic and across the subject.

    Ø Principled – We acted with honesty. We haven’t copied anything form the internet and forgotten to reference it.

    Ø Open Minded – We considered a different point of view on our topic. We approached to the topic in two ways – gender and age.

    Ø Reflective – We have tried to think about what you could have done better in this project. We could have done more detailed research about our topic, “Eye adaptation to darkness’. Then, we would have found this whole project easier to understand and work on.


  • An evaluation
    1. How we(Cindy and Sophie) feel the investigation went : We are generally satisfied with the process we made during the project and the result we’ve got by it. We managed to achieve our starting goal by caring a fair experiment based on our topic. Also, we have learnt being inquirers, knowledgeable, principled, open minded and reflected (IB learner profile) during the process we went through in this project. Also, we have learnt basic information about the topic that we’ve been studying – Lights by fulfilling this project.
    2. What would we change if we did it again? : If we could do this project again, we would like to change
    3. Did we feel it was a fair test and our result were valid? : Yes, we felt our experiment was fairly- carried out and results were valid. We kept the constants throughout the whole experiment in order to have a reliable result. We used the same box for every people that we experiment on, the letters of the word that we located inside the box were constant, time limit of trying to see the word was kept constant as well. Also, the distance between the word and the hole was same. We had two results of the project – gender affects one’s ability to adjust to darkness while age affects as well. We think this result is valid because we didn’t choose our particular subjects on experiment but different range of age and gender.
    4. Did any further questions arise that we would like to investigate? : Yes, of course we have further questions that we would like to investigate. These are the questions :
    Why does one’s gender affect one’s ability to adjust to darkness?
    Why does one’s age affect one’s ability to adjust to darkness?
    Why were all middle-aged men that we’ve experimented on not able to identify the word?
    Does one’s eyesight affect one’s ability to adjust to darkness as well?
    How can we experiment under the topic “Eye adaptation to light”?



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