Mental Models: Forming Images in Our Mind

Overview:  By conducting experiments that illustrate the effects of an eye’s “blind spot” and the limits of retinal resolution, students will learn how past experience influences interpretation of new data.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context

Systems Thinking Concepts

Students will:

  • Learn that the eye’s limitations may result in erroneous interpretations of what appears to be an unambiguous data set.

  • Be able to generalize this concept to understand our interpretation of more complex social and physical systems.

  • Appreciate the importance of using analytical tools, such as modeling, to understand data.

This lesson is appropriate for 7th – 12th grade students. It may serve as a precursor to the study of a variety of issues using systems thinking tools.

  • Mental models



Systems Tools

  • One sheet of each “blind spot” activity for each student

  • Multiple copies of the pixelized and nonpixelized photos, depending on class size and space available

  • 30 minutes


  • None

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