In partnership with the Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, and Institute of Physics

Colour vision

This lesson is designed to exemplify a model-based inquiry approach to practical work. It is based around a model for human colour perception which describes colour-sensitive receptors (cones) in the retina.

Students use their own ideas to make a prediction about the outcomes of an experiment to test colour vision. By gathering evidence of colour perception in the field of view, students build a model in the form of a mapto help them understand what is happening on the retina. They then relate their map to the distribution of receptors (cones) in the retina, for different colours of light. They use the collected data to critique both their predicted model and the consensus model.

Download resources

Resources for this lesson comprise: student sheet; teacher guidance; practical guidance; practical sheet; presentation; animation; and two short videos. You should also read our standard health & safety guidance.

Video 1:
Video 2:


Quick start guide

For support in using the model-based enquiry approach and to find out more about the research behind it, refer to our quick start guide